Robot Framework User Guide. Bootstrapped


Eight years ago when I graduated from the University my first job title was a QA Engineer. Lots have been changed since then, but these days I am once again facing some QA tasks. Gladly this time we are talking Test Automation.

In particular my team mates and myself are going to develop a set of test cases to automate acceptance and regressions testing for Nuage VSP products. For many reasons for this task we chose Robot Framework as a tool to write our test cases. Without going into the details about what are the benefits of Robot let me jump to the very point of this post.

Robot has one of the most comprehensive User Guides I’ve seen in Opensource world. It is well-written, descriptive, with lots of examples, but… But it lacks of modern formatting. It is hard to read the docs on a wide monitors, impossible to read on tablets/phones, code snippets have been formatted in too narrow elements and other visual stuff that prevents one to enjoy the documentation itself in full flavor.

Given that I made a humble attempt to beautify the official User Guide of Robot by going the same way as I did with NokDoc — namely, using the Bootstrap CSS and automatically rebuild the docs with it.

Please meet (rfug stands for robot framework user guide).

What has been changed?

  1. Layout now responsive, meaning it will adapt to your device resolution. You may enjoy RF User Guide on portable devices
  2. Open Sans font is enabled by default
  3. Tables are now 100% wide and with a cleaner look

PDF version

I have also compiled a PDF version of the Bootstrapped User Guide. It has the same nice styles applied as well as Table Of Contents, so you will have the ability to navigate through the document quick & easy.

What could be added?

  1. I still have some things to fugure out how to make the page layout be more usable on small resolutions (phones)
  2. Sidebar with all the table of contents links

How it’s been done?

I wrote a small html parser powered by BeautifulSoup4 package to add/change the elements in original User Guide. And I uploaded it to the free HTML server of github (namely github pages).



brvirt: when brctl meets virsh


Hypervisors diversity is definitely one of the benefits of having Nuage managing your next-generation network. That means that we, as Nuage engineers, have to play with all kinds of hypervisors — like KVM, ESXi and Hyper-V to be more precise. As to me, I love to work with KVM most, simply because it gives you that feel that you are in control and can fine-tune or troubleshoot with granularity you want. Thanks to opensource tools like tcpdump, virsh, ss, top, brctl and many many others!

But these tools won’t fit perfectly for every situation every time. For example consider a simple case of a Linux host with a bunch of VMs connected via Linux bridges and answer a simple question: how to determine what VM names correspond to what virtual network interfaces connected to what bridges? I have to say that this question arises quite often when you troubleshoot network connectivity between VMs or gathering network stats.

And the answer to this question can not be provided with above mentioned tools without some scripting. Indeed, in this post I will share a script called brvirt which does the job by combining iproute2 and virsh outputs.

Link: Github repo.


Using free Yandex DNS service in an automated way


This DNS story started when I bought a domain with a specific need — to dynamically create and delete DNS records for Nuage Networks components we use during Proof Of Concepts and customers trials.

Earlier I used to rely on Dynamic DNS services (i.e. whenever I needed a DNS name for my public endpoints. But this approach has two drawbacks:

  1. To use if for free you have to manually prolong you hostname once in a month. Drove me mad every time!
  2. In PoCs/trials you want your domain represent your product. Using in front of a customer is not something that speaks well for your product. And we all know that devil is in the details.

Therefore I decided to buy a domain that will represent a product we are offering and park it to some provider which offers robustfree and API-enabled DNS service. Google cloud DNS and DynDNS while being both cheap are not free. So I kept looking and ended up with Yandex DNS which has all three traits I was looking for. Lastly I automated this DNS workflow so everyone in my team could provision their own DNS entries via one shared tool.

You got it right, in this post I am going to tell you about a completely free DNS service from Yandex with a decent API you can use for your personal needs. And yes, this post is accompanied with a python script which leverages API and automates DNS records provisioning.


Building Web front end for Python scripts with Flask


Recently I revived my relationship with Python in an effort to beat routine tasks appearing here and there. So I started to write some pocket scripts and, luckily, was not the only one on this battlefield – my colleagues also have a bunch of useful scripts. With all those pieces of code sent in email, cloned from repos, grabbed on network shares I started to wonder how much easier would it be if someone aggregated all of them, made a Web UI and shared this experience.

Thus, I started to build web front-end to python scripts with these goals in mind:

  • allow people with zero python knowledge to use the scripts by interaction through simple Web UI;
  • make script’s output more readable by leveraging modern CSS and HTML formatting;
  • aggregate all the scripts in one repo but in a separate sandboxed directories to increase code manageability.

This short demo should give you some taste of what it is:

Disclaimer: I am nowhere near even a junior python or web developer. And what makes matters worse is that I used (a lot) very dangerous coding paradigm – SDD – Stackoverflow Driven Development. So, hurt me plenty if you see some awful mistakes.


Retrieving network elements backup from 5620 SAM

Last week I faced a routine (and quite common) task to get the latest backups of current configuration and BOF files for ~700 routers on a customers network. Sure thing sane man would use some automatization techniques, which could be:

  • 5620 SAM scripts
  • some scripting language to grab latest backups from the global NE backup location on a SAM server

I tried it both ways and invite you under the cut to read about it.