Geolocation unit tests for WebKit using GeoClue

As you probably know, the WebKit project is focused on the implementation of  an open source web browser engine. Support for the W3C Geolocation API is available since 2008 and GeoClue was the selected choice for the WebKitGtk+ port implementation.

Since Igalia is very interested on the WebKit project, I’ve got the chance to devote some time  to explore the integration of GeoClue in WebKit and learning more about this project, which will be the main bet for our Innovation area. It’s really great to leave aside for a while my regular tasks and continue learning and deeper analyzing such an interesting project.

The current state of the GeoClue based implementation it’s somehow preliminary. Basic location services are provided by GeoClue, but the integration with the WebKit core is not fully covered and unit tests are most of them disabled at this moment.

So, I thought it would be a good challenge to complete the implementation and check the unit tests cases to see if I’m able to fix at least one of them. I think it would be a good start 🙂

There are 24 unit test cases defined and only 4 of them are enabled at this moment and they are basically just testing if GeoClue is installed and configured, or checking the input arguments type. I’ve thought that working on the enabled.html test would be interesting, because is very simple and it probes the GeoClue API is correctly used and it works as expected.

description(“Tests Geolocation success callback using the mock service.”);

var mockLatitude = 51.478;
var mockLongitude = -0.166;
var mockAccuracy = 100;

if (window.layoutTestController) {
} else
debug(‘This test can not be run without the LayoutTestController’);

var position;
navigator.geolocation.getCurrentPosition(function(p) {
position = p;
shouldBe(‘position.coords.latitude’, ‘mockLatitude’);
shouldBe(‘position.coords.longitude’, ‘mockLongitude’);
shouldBe(‘position.coords.accuracy’, ‘mockAccuracy’);
}, function(e) {
testFailed(‘Error callback invoked unexpectedly’);

window.jsTestIsAsync = true;
window.successfullyParsed = true;

So, the fist issue to face is the implementation of the setMockGeolocationPosition method, which is unimplemented (see bug 28624) in the Gtk port (LayoutTestControllerGtk.cpp). This method should set the mock position to be retrieved by the Geolocation API method.

The problem is that GeoClue has not such method, at least, as API method. Depending on the location provider selected its possible to establish  a dummy position through the DBus API.

Another problem is that the Master provider, the one used for the WebKitGtk+ port to implement the Geolocation API, has not a very good provider selection algorithm so one of the web services based provider is selected, causing the unit test to become stalled, waiting for a web response which never come.

Hence, it seemed that the work should start at the GeoClue side, talking to the community to look for the proper approach, discussing about the patches I’ve implemented and eventually push those patches to be committed. After some weeks of hard work, the patches are already at the GeoClue bugzilla; lets see how the discussion evolves.

Meanwhile, I started the WebKit tasks implementing the mock operation. The first approach, perhaps the easiest one, would be to directly use the GeoClue API for setting the mock position. using my own GeoClue branch with my patches applied, I was able to correctly execute the success.html unit test. The patch was not too complex, but it required a new dependency in the WebKitTools module, in order to use the GeoClue API from the LayoutTestControllerGtk component.

void LayoutTestController::setMockGeolocationPosition(double latitude, double longitude, double accuracy)
// FIXME: Implement for Geolocation layout tests.
// See
GeocluePosition *pos = NULL;
const char *service = “org.freedesktop.Geoclue.Providers.Manual”;
const char *path = “/org/freedesktop/Geoclue/Providers/Manual”;
const char *iface = “org.freedesktop.Geoclue.Manual”;
GError *error = NULL;

GeoclueMaster* master = geoclue_master_get_default();
GeoclueMasterClient* client = geoclue_master_create_client(master, 0, 0);
if (geoclue_master_client_set_requirements(client, GEOCLUE_ACCURACY_LEVEL_LOCALITY, 0,
false, GEOCLUE_RESOURCE_ALL, &error)) {

pos = geoclue_master_client_create_iface_position (client, service, path, iface, &error);
geoclue_position_set_position (pos, accuracy, longitude, latitude, 0, &error);
g_object_unref (pos);


In spite of being functionally correct, after talking with some of the WebKitGtk+ developers, it seems that might be not the best approach to follow. The Chromium port has solved the problem by implementing its own Location Cache system inside the WebKit code, delegating on the specific Geolocation tools only when no valid location is available. The mock method just set the mock position into this cache, so the unit tests don’t need any external dependency.

Next steps would be talking to the WebkitGtk+ team to evaluate my proposal and figuring out the best approach to follow, probably something similar to what Chromium have implemented.

2 thoughts on “Geolocation unit tests for WebKit using GeoClue”

  1. Great work. I can’t wait to see this land in SVN and to have passing geolocation tests. 🙂

    1. Thanks a lot 🙂 I’ll try to push the required changes into GeoClue. I hope I could talk with some of the GeoClue team members during the next GUADEC.

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