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Dendrite uses SyTest for its integration testing. When creating a new PR, add the test IDs (see below) that your PR should allow to pass to sytest-whitelist in dendrite's root directory. Not all PRs need to make new tests pass. If we find your PR should be making a test pass we may ask you to add to that file, as generally Dendrite's progress can be tracked through the amount of SyTest tests it passes.

Finding out which tests to add

We recommend you run the tests locally by using the SyTest docker image. After running the tests, a script will print the tests you need to add to sytest-whitelist.

You should proceed after you see no build problems for dendrite after running:


If you are fixing an issue marked with Are We Synapse Yet then there will be a list of Sytests that you should add to the whitelist when you have fixed that issue. This MUST be included in your PR to ensure that the issue is fully resolved.

Using the SyTest Docker image

We strongly recommend using the Docker image to run Sytest.

Use the following commands to pull the latest SyTest image and run the tests:

docker pull matrixdotorg/sytest-dendrite
docker run --rm -v /path/to/dendrite/:/src/ -v /path/to/log/output/:/logs/ matrixdotorg/sytest-dendrite

/path/to/dendrite/ should be replaced with the actual path to your dendrite source code. The test results TAP file and homeserver logging output will go to /path/to/log/output. The output of the command should tell you if you need to add any tests to sytest-whitelist.

When debugging, the following Docker run options may also be useful:

  • -v /path/to/sytest/:/sytest/: Use your local SyTest repository at /path/to/sytest instead of pulling from GitHub. This is useful when you want to speed things up or make modifications to SyTest.
  • -v "/path/to/gopath/:/gopath": Use your local GOPATH so you don't need to re-download packages on every run.
  • --entrypoint bash: Prevent the container from automatically starting the tests. When used, you need to manually run / dendrite inside the container to start them.
  • -e "DENDRITE_TRACE_HTTP=1": Adds HTTP tracing to server logs.
  • -e "DENDRITE_TRACE_INTERNAL=1": Adds roomserver internal API tracing to server logs.
  • -e "DENDRITE_TRACE_SQL=1": Adds tracing to all SQL statements to server logs.

The docker command also supports a single positional argument for the test file to run, so you can run a single .pl file rather than the whole test suite. For example:

docker run --rm --name sytest -v "/Users/kegan/github/sytest:/sytest"
-v "/Users/kegan/github/dendrite:/src" -v "/Users/kegan/logs:/logs"
-v "/Users/kegan/go/:/gopath" -e "POSTGRES=1" -e "DENDRITE_TRACE_HTTP=1"
matrixdotorg/sytest-dendrite:latest tests/50federation/

Manually Setting up SyTest

We advise AGAINST using manual SyTest setups.

If you don't want to use the Docker image, you can also run SyTest by hand. Make sure you have Perl 5 or above, and get SyTest with:

(Note that this guide assumes your SyTest checkout is next to your dendrite checkout.)

git clone -b develop
cd sytest

Set up the database:

sudo -u postgres psql -c "CREATE USER dendrite PASSWORD 'itsasecret'"
sudo -u postgres psql -c "ALTER USER dendrite CREATEDB"
for i in dendrite0 dendrite1 sytest_template; do sudo -u postgres psql -c "CREATE DATABASE $i OWNER dendrite;"; done
mkdir -p "server-0"
cat > "server-0/database.yaml" << EOF
    user: dendrite
    password: itsasecret
    database: dendrite0
    sslmode: disable
type: pg
mkdir -p "server-1"
cat > "server-1/database.yaml" << EOF
    user: dendrite
    password: itsasecret
    database: dendrite1
    sslmode: disable
type: pg

Run the tests:

POSTGRES=1 ./ -I Dendrite::Monolith -d ../dendrite/bin -W ../dendrite/sytest-whitelist -O tap --all | tee results.tap

where tee lets you see the results while they're being piped to the file, and POSTGRES=1 enables testing with PostgeSQL. If the POSTGRES environment variable is not set or is set to 0, SyTest will fall back to SQLite 3. For more flags and options, see

Once the tests are complete, run the helper script to see if you need to add any newly passing test names to sytest-whitelist in the project's root directory:

../dendrite/ results.tap ../dendrite/sytest-whitelist ../dendrite/sytest-blacklist

If the script prints nothing/exits with 0, then you're good to go.