Why changes of <lastRun> info in a *.ts file conflict --- how to prevent it


I have made a demo project on GitHub for this issue

  1. https: //github.com/kazurayam/GitConflictsOfLastRunInTsPrevented

Problem to solve

When you create a Test Suite Test Suite/TS1 in a Katalon Studio project, Katalon Stuido will make <projectDir>/Test Suites/TS1.ts file. Content of the file will look like, for example, as follows:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

Please find a timestamp info as <lastRun> is included. This timestamp will be updated by Katalon Studio when you run the Test Suites/TS1 .

Here I assume that you have made the project version-controlled by Git. And you have built a remote Git repository to share the project with your team mates. It is certainly a good idea. You would change lastRun info in *.ts files, and your team mates also would change the same portion as well.

I tell you the truth, changes of lastRun info in *.ts files tend to conflict when you try to merge the changes. It is a small problem, but annoying a lot. I want to find some way to prevent the conflicts.

Why changes of lastRun info in a *.ts file conflict — a typical case

Reference: Git Glossary document

Following figure and step-wise description illustrates how conflict occurs.


  1. Here we assume your team has a Git repository for your Katalon project on a remote server. Your team mates are sharing the master branch in it. The project has test suite named Test Suites/TS1 , and you find a file <projectDir>/Test Suites/TS1.ts in the Working Directory. Current TS1.ts file contains a line: <lastRun>2018-12-02T10:22:40</lastRun> . On your machine, your remote-tracking branch origin/master and your local branch master have Test Suites/TS1.ts file with the same timestamp.
  2. Your team mate Alice pushed <lastRun>2018-12-04T14:12:26</lastRun> into the remote Git repository.
  3. Unfortunately, you forgot to fetch the change made in the remote repository. Therefore your remote-tracking branch origin/master was left different from the remote repository.
  4. You started Katalon Studio and opened the project. You executed Test Suites/TS1 . Effectively TS1.ts file in the Working Directory was updated with new timestamp 2018-12-04T14:26:55 .
  5. You executed $ git add . successfully.
  6. You executed $ git commit -m "update" successfully. Your local branch master branch was updated with new timestamp 2018-12-04T14:26:55 .
  7. Then you do $ git push . You will encounter a error saying as follows:.
To https://github.com/kazurayam/GitConflictsOfLastRunInTsReproduced.git
 ! [rejected]        master -> master (fetch first)
error: failed to push some refs to 'https://github.com/kazurayam/GitConflictsOfLastRunInTsReproduced.git'
hint: Updates were rejected because the remote contains work that you do
hint: not have locally. This is usually caused by another repository pushing
hint: to the same ref. You may want to first integrate the remote changes
hint: (e.g., 'git pull ...') before pushing again.
hint: See the 'Note about fast-forwards' in 'git push --help' for details.

This error occured because the remote remository had 2018-12-04T14:12:26 while your remote-tracking branch origin/master had a different value: 2019-12-02T10:22:40 . 8. You got a bit surprised but recognized you need to do git pull (or git fetch + git merge ). So you did. Then you got another error with the following message.

$ git pull
remote: Enumerating objects: 7, done.
remote: Counting objects: 100% (7/7), done.
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (2/2), done.
remote: Total 4 (delta 2), reused 4 (delta 2), pack-reused 0
Unpacking objects: 100% (4/4), done.
From https://github.com/kazurayam/GitConflictsOfLastRunInTsReproduced
   06c3863..6ad77e2  master     -> origin/master
Auto-merging Test Suites/TS1.ts
CONFLICT (content): Merge conflict in Test Suites/TS1.ts
Automatic merge failed; fix conflicts and then commit the result.
  1. You looked at the content of TS1.ts file in the Working Directory. You found the file was modified by git with conflict markers <<<<<<< , ======= and >>>>>>> . As follows:
$ cat "Test Suites/TS1.ts"
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<<<<<<< HEAD
>>>>>>> 6ad77e2a58ebbebd19f16c15f3e202942ada58bf
  1. So messy. You had to resolve the merge conflict. This requires sound understanding about Git. Annoying.

I have made another Katalon Studio project and published it on GitHub in order to trace the above operation and results:

Solution proposed

The <proejectDir>/Test Suites/TS1.ts file is the definition of a Test Suite TS1. It is important for a Katalon Studio project. You should save it in the Git repository. You can not gitignore it.

However the <lastRun>...</lastRun> line in the TS1.ts file looks insignificant. Whatever timestamp value is saved in Git repository, possibly it does not matter. You can let Katalon Studio to overrite <lastRun> info in TS1.ts file the working directory as it wants to.

I have no idea how the lastRun info is used by Katalon Studio. Is it really necessary? — I doubt it.

The idea is as follows:

  1. we will intentionally keep the lastRun info in *.ts files to be a Magical Timestamp 2018-12-01T00:00:00 anywhere in the Git repository for the Katalon Project. Here by saying Anywhere I means either of local and remote repository, all of branches, either of local branch: “master”, staging area and remote-tracking branch: “origin/master”.
  2. The *.ts files in Working Directory will be updated by Katalon Studio when you run a Test Suite. OK. Let it go as designed.
  3. When you do “git add Test\ Suite/TS1.ts”, clean filter reads the file in the Working Directory, rewrite it to have <lastRun>2018-12-01T00:00:00<lastRun> , and stage it.
  4. When you do "git clone ", smudge filter reads the file in the local branch, rewrite it to have <lastRun>2018-12-01T00:00:00<lastRun> , and locate the result in the Working Directory.

The following figure explains what the filters do.


How to implement the solution

We will employ 2 Git features.

  1. filter
  2. .gitattributes file


Step.1 Choose filter tool of your choice : sed

Git filter requires one-liner script to filter a file. Here I choose good old sed command. sed is built-in on Mac OSX and linux. But if you work on Windows then you need to install sed for Windows . I will guide how to later.

sed is not the only one to implement Git filter. git-scm.com shows a filter by Ruby. Other page uses Perl. Which ever command is OK as far as it works as a test filter.

Step.2 Define Git filters in --global scope

We will define a pair of Git filter

  1. lastRun-in-ts.clean
  2. lastRun-in-ts.smudge

In order to do it, you want to edit the .gitconfig of your OS user, which is located at

  • %USERPROFILE%\.gitconfig in Windows
  • ~/.gitconfig in Mac OSX and Linux

You can use any text editor of your choice.

You want to instert following lines:

[filter "lastRun-in-ts"]
        smudge = sed 's!<lastRun>.*</lastRun>!<lastRun>2018-12-01T00:00:00</lastRun>!'
        clean = sed 's!<lastRun>.*</lastRun>!<lastRun>2018-12-01T00:00:00</lastRun>!'

This code defines a filter named lastRun-in-ts . Because it is written in the ~/.gitconfig file, the filter is considered --global.

In there you find one line script:

sed 's!<lastRun>.*</lastRun>!<lastRun>2018-12-01T00:00:00</lastRun>!'

This one-liner filters a string <lastRun> followed by any string followed by </lastRun> to a magical constant string <lastRun>2018-12-01T00:00:00</lastRun> .

The date of the magical constant could be any date time. I just chose 2018-12-01T00:00:00 but you can choose any other.

Please note that a pair of single quotation 's! .... !' is used.

You can check the editting result in Katalon Forum as well. Open Katalon Studio and click Window > Katalon Studio Preferences . In the dialog, select Team > Git > Configure . In the

All of your team members and CI servers who will execute the Katalon Studio project are required to edit the ~/.gitconfig file as described here.

Step.3 Add .gitattributes file to the project

The filter.lastRun-in-ts.clean and filter.lastRun-in-ts.smudge defined in the ~/.gitconfig file has global scope to all of Git repository of the user. However you have option if you want to make those filters effective to each indivisual Git repositories (= Katalon Studio projects).

In order to make those filters effective to the repository = to the Katalon project, you want to add .gitattributes file into the project directory:

*.ts filter=lastRun-in-ts

This one line defines the lastRun-in-ts filter to be applicable to the repository. gitattributes

You should add .gitattributes file into the repository and let it shared by all of your team members.

Step.4 How git behavior changes

Here assumed you haved defined filters and added .gitattributes.

OK, you start Katalon Studio and run “Test Suites/TS1” again. And you do “git add”. What will happen?

$ head -7 "Test Suites/TS1.ts"
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

The timestamp in TS1.ts file in the Working Directory is certainly changed. But …

$ git diff
diff --git a/Test Suites/TS1.ts b/Test Suites/TS1.ts
index cbb23dc..8145846 100644
--- a/Test Suites/TS1.ts
+++ b/Test Suites/TS1.ts
@@ -4,7 +4,7 @@
-   <lastRun>2018-12-04T14:26:55</lastRun>
+   <lastRun>2018-12-01T00:00:00</lastRun>

Please note, the lastRun info is edited by the lastRun-in-ts filter. The timestamp is chaged from 2018-12-03T13:23:51 to the matical timestamp (2018-12-01T00:00:00) . It is surprising that the lastest timestamp in the Working Directory 2018-12-05T16:21:52 is silently ignored by git diff and git add .

Step.5 Cleaning the project

Please commit this and push to the remote Git repository. And spread the magical timestamp (2018-12-01T00:00:00) to all of your team mates and CI servers. Once the magical timestamp is wide-spread all over, then the conflicts of ‘lastRun’ info in *.ts file will NEVER occur because, as far as Git repository is concerned, the lastRun info will stay unchanged.

Installing sed for Windows

The method I present here requires sed command on your machine operational in the command line. MacOS and Linux has sed built-in. But Windows does not have it.

The following steps show you how to install sed for Windows into your Windows PC.

  1. You can download the Setup program for sed for Windows from here.
  2. Find “Download > Complate package, except sources Setup” and click the link. The Setup program will be downloaded.
  3. Execute the downloaded sed-4.2.1-setup.exe . The installer will install the sed command.
  4. Confirm that the sed is operational in the command line. Open the command prompt window, and type:
C:\Users\kazurayam>sed --version

sed command will respond :

GNU sed 4.2.1

Copyright (C) 2009 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
This is free software; see the source for copying conditions.  There is NO
to the extent permitted by law.

GNU sed home page: <http://www.gnu.org/software/sed/>.
General help using GNU software: <http://www.gnu.org/gethelp/>.
E-mail bug reports to: <bug-gnu-utils@gnu.org>.
Be sure to include the word 'sed' somewhere in the 'Subject:' field.

If you see garbled characters in the Command prompt, you need to change the code page to be UTF-8:

C:\Users\kazurayam>chcp 65001

Related discussions

In the Katalon Studio Forum, there are a few discussions related to the lastRun conflicts.

  1. Git: master->master [rejected - non-fast-forward] by Mate Mrse at 11/30/2018
  2. [Suggestion][Katalon Studio] Last Run info could be saved in a separate file (in the .ts file) by Lauro Araujo at 05/31/2018
  3. Every time I run test suite it will be updated then I have a new git commit by qiulang at 09/11/2018
  4. Commits from different machines cause conflicts in Git by Alex Brohin at 08/04/2017

Please note one thing. At 08/10/2017 (16 months ago), Oliver Howard posted a comment to Commits from different machines cause conflicts in Git. where he presented a solution to lastRun conflicts. He explained how to configure Git with filter and .gitattribute file. Thanks to Oliver, but his comment seems to be unknown by Katalon users. Here I wrote just the same know-how again in a more verbose way so that it is shared by more of Katalon Studio users working with Git.

Git: master->master [rejected - non-fast-forward]
[Suggestion] [Katalon Studio] Last Run info could be saved in a separate fille (not in the .ts file)
Commits from different machines cause conflicts in Git.
Every time I run test suite it will be updated then I have a new git commit

This is a great read!


Related discussion: [Suggestion] [Katalon Studio] Last Run info could be saved in a separate fille (not in the .ts file).