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Parameter run_test allows to filter which test units to execute during testing. The Unit Test Framework supports both "selection filters", which allow to select which test units to enable from the set of available test units, and "disabler filters", which allow to disable some test units. The Unit Test Framework also supports enabling/disabling test units at compile time. These settings identify the default set of test units to run. Parameter run_test is used to change this default. This parameter is repeatable, so you can specify more than one filter if necessary. It is also possible to use the ':' for separating each filter which can be used for filtering the tests with the environment variable BOOST_TEST_RUN_FILTERS (as it cannot be repeated like --run_test).

More details about practical application of this parameter resides in test unit filtering section.

Acceptable values

String value representing single filter or a set of filters separated by ':'. The following grammar productions describe the syntax of filters:

filter_set    ::= (filter ':')* filter
filter        ::= relative_spec? test_set
relative_spec ::= '+' | '!'
test_set      ::= label | path
label         ::= '@' identifier
path          ::= (suite '/')? pattern_list
pattern_list  ::= (pattern ',')* pattern
suite         ::= (pattern '/')* pattern
pattern       ::= '*'? identifier '*'?
[Caution] Caution

the pattern_list above indicates test unit inside the same test suite given by suite. This means that the syntax "--run_test=suite1/suite2/A,B,C" runs the test cases A, B and C that are inside suite1/suite2. In order to indicate several test units that are not siblings, either repeat the --run_test or use : to separate the filters.

Regarding the meaning of these values see here.

Command line syntax
Environment variable