Running the BBT test suite

Please DO NOT DO THIS without an open issue on the github tracker. I’ve been running tests this way for years, but I’d still prefer to guide you through this to prevent any risks to your citation library. The test suite has only been tested on MacOS and Linux. I doubt it’ll run on Windows, and I don’t know what will go wrong when you test. If you’re on Windows, DO NOT run this on the same account that holds your actual Zotero library.

The tests require an installed Zotero, python 3.6+, and node 12+, a working gcc, and libgit. On MacOS, that requires:

  • brew install libgit2
  • if xcode-select -p doesn’t respond with /Applications/ xcode-select --install (select install, not get Xcode in the popup that follows).


  • git clone
  • cd zotero-better-bibtex
  • pip3 install -r requirements.txt

then a few things I’d really prefer you do before anything else. In principle the tests are safe to run on the user account that also has your own library. I’ve been doing this for years. Still, it would be good to verify rather than trust this. The next steps are all reversible if things don’t go as expected.

  • Make sure Zotero is not running. If you’re on a Mac, that means cmd-Q
  • copy the Zotero profiles to a safe place. The profiles live in ~/Library/Application\ Support/Zotero if you’re on a Mac, ~/.zotero if you’re on Linux.
  • mv ~/Zotero ~/Zotero.saved
  • touch ~/Zotero

this is all temporary, and when all is verified to be setup correctly, we’ll undo them.

~/Library/Application\ Support/Zotero / ~/.zotero holds the administration of your Zotero profiles. The test setup will add a new profile leaving your existing profile(s) untouched. But better safe than sorry, which is why we’re holding a copy.

The mv sets aside your library so that Zotero won’t be able to find it. The touch creates an empty file in its place. The tests don’t use that location, they use ~/.BBTZ5TEST instead, but if for whatever reason that doesn’t work, Zotero will try to write to ~/Zotero/something, and since ~/Zotero is now a file instead of a directory, Zotero will complain loudly if that happens, and we know we must back out.

Now then:

  • make sure you’re in zotero-better-bibtex
  • ./test/behave --tags @438

and be amazed. Zotero will pop up, load the test library, executes one test, and shuts down. The log file after the tests run will be ~/.BBTZ5TEST.log. The tests do not touch your own library.

To restore access to your regular library so you can run either a test suite or just work with your library (but not both at the same time. always fully close Zotero between these).

  • rm ~/Zotero
  • mv ~/Zotero.saved ~/Zotero

and you can remove the copy of the profile administration you made earlier. Zotero should now start again normally opening your library.