1.0.28 • Public • Published


CodeGradXagent is a script providing a command line interface to ease interaction with the CodeGradX infrastructure. It internally uses the CodeGradXlib library (an npm module) that runs on top of Node.js. Reading the page associated to the CodeGradXlib npm module is recommended.

People interested in that script are mainly teachers wanting to mark a batch of students' files or authors of exercises. Basic knowledge of command line interface is required to automatize interactions with the CodeGradX infrastructure. Others may prefer a Web interface.


npm install codegradxagent

Caution, if you are an author and wants to use the virtual machine for authors, named VMauthor. You should also install the codegradxvmauthor module that configures the agent to use VMauthor rather than the real constellation of servers. See how to authenticate with VMauthor in the codegradxvmauthor documentation.


You may run this script with the regular CodeGradX infrastructure with node as (where ... is a path leading to the script):

node .../codegradxagent.js

If the codegradxagent script is executable, you may simply write:


And, if codegradxagent is on your PATH, you just write:


By default or with the -h or --help options, the script prints a short summary of the possible options.

Two other global options, -v or -V, ask the codegradxagent to be verbose and to show what it does. The second option also asks the CodeGradXlib library to be verbose.


You cannot use the CodeGradX infrastructure if you are not registered that is, you have a login and a password. These login and password may be passed with the --user and --password options. Since that last option may reveal your password to other users of your computer, you may prefer to use a credentials file (by default, this file is named .fw4ex.json). You mention that credentials file with the --credentials option. When authenticated, the CodeGradX infrastructure identifies you with a safe-cookie (a ciphered cookie). This cookie is available for some hours so it may be stored in your credentials file using the --update-credentials option. Therefore, a series of invocations of the script starts often with

$ cat .fw4ex.json
{ "user""myLogin",
$ ./codegradxagent.js --update-credentials

Sending an answer against an exercise

An exercise is identified by a safe-cookie (a long string of characters). An exercise is specified by the --exercise option, the associated value may take several forms, all of them yielding a safe-cookie.

If you are the author of an exercise then, when this exercise was checked and deployed, its safe-cookie was returned to you in the authorExerciseReport file, say 2-exerciseAuthorReport.xml. Then --exercise=file:2-exerciseAuthorReport.xml allows the CodeGradXagent to extract the safe-cookie from that file.

If the exercise is part of a campaign you can access, say this is the 3rd exercise of a campaign named free, then saying --exercise campaign:free#2 will extract the safe-cookie associated to that third exercise.

Once you know how to get the safe-cookie identifying an exercise, you may send an answer to that exercise. Depending on the exercise, the expected answer may be a single file or a bunch of files. The answer should be packed within a tar gzipped file, say answer.tgz and sent with the --stuff option as in:

$ ./codegradxagent.js -t job -e 'campaign:free#2' --stuff answer.tgz

The -t or --type option specifies that we send an answer against an exercise.

Produced files

The CodeGradX infrastructure is operated via REST protocols, interactions often yields reports in XML or JSON. These reports are stored in the directory specified by --xmldir (by default the current directory), their name is prefixed by an integer starting with the value of --counter (by default 0). For instance, the previous command will produce some reports:

  • 1-jobSubmittedReport.xml an intermediate report acknowledging the reception of a job to mark
  • 2-jobStudentReport.xml the grading report containing the mark given to the answer as well as a (perhaps lengthy) description of the tests performed on the answer.
  • 3-jobStudentReport.html an HTML translation of the grading report. You may prefer to run your own translation (this one is not very good).
  • 4-jobProblemReport.xml is intended for authors of exercises and contains information related to the bad behavior of the exercise. The most common errors are that the output of the exercise is invalid with respect to the XML grammar or some grading script is erroneous.

Time management

Some exercises may require a number of seconds to grade an answer. On the other hand, some answers may loop or be stuck, they will be killed once a given duration set by the author of the exercise is overrun. Therefore three other options exist dealing with time:

  • offset (by default 0 second) tells the script to wait that number of seconds before attempting to fetch the grading report.
  • retry (by default 30) tells the script to try to fetch the grading report at most that number.
  • timeout (by default 5 seconds, cannot be less than 5) tells the script to wait that number of seconds before any two attempts to fetch the grading report.

Sending a batch against an exercise

The --type option should now be set to batch.

The identification of the exercise does not vary.

A batch of students' answers is described by a manifest, a fw4ex.xml file. Suppose for instance that we have the two students' files 1.tgz and 2.tgz then the manifest may look like:

$ cat fw4ex.xml
<?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8' ?>
<fw4ex version='1.0'>
  <multiJobSubmission label=''>
    <job label='premiere' filename='1.tgz' />
    <job label='seconde'  filename='2.tgz' />

The whole batch file is then created and sent as:

$ tar czf /tmp/batch1.tgz fw4ex.xml 1.tgz 2.tgz
$ ./codegradxagent.js -t batch -e 'campaign:free#2' \
    --stuff /tmp/batch1.tgz \
    --offset=30 --timeout=25 --retry 5 \
    --xmldir /tmp/ --counter=100 \

Produced files

The --follow option tells the script to fetch the grading reports of the students as soon as they are graded. They will be stored in the /tmp/ directory with names prefixed by numbers starting at 100.

Some files are produced:

  • 101-multiJobSubmittedReport.xml acknowledges the reception of the batch
  • 102-multiJobStudentReport.xml is the batch instantaneous report in which appears the references to the students' grading reports as well as how many reports are graded.
  • 103-jobStudentReport.xml grading report of the first answer with label premiere
  • etc.


The management of time does not vary but, of course, should accomodate the number of students' answers to be graded. If it appears that you mention a too short duration and miss some students' grading report, you may resume your script with:

$ ./codegradxagent.js --resume 101-multiJobSubmittedReport.xml --follow

Submitting an exercise

The --type option should now be set to exercise.

An exercise is a somewhat complex tar gzipped file (see more thorough documentation) that may be submitted as:

$ ./codegradxagent.js -t exercise --stuff 

Since an exercise contains a number of answers of pseudo-students, it may take some time to check that all these answers are appropriately graded: you must manage time accordingly.

Produced files

The --follow option tells the script to fetch the grading reports of the pseudo-students once graded.

Some files are produced:

  • 1-exerciseSubmittedReport.xml acknowledges the reception of the exercise
  • 2-exerciseAuthorReport.xml is the final report where appears the safe-cookie of the exercise if no problem was detected.


The management of time does not vary but, of course, should accomodate the number of students' answers to be graded. If it appears that you mention a too short duration, you may resume your script and ask for the grading reports of the pseudo-jobs with:

$ ./codegradxagent.js --resume 1-exerciseSubmittedReport.xml --follow

You may also set new options for time management.

Updating a list of exercises

After the creation of a new exercise, you may want to let students use that new exercise. You may send them the long URL leading to it or, you may add it to a dedicated Web page listing the exercises they should practice. A campaign is a concept of CodeGradX binding a group of students, a group of teachers and a list of exercises during a certain period of time. Here is how you may update that list of exercises.

The --type option should be set to exercisesset. The --campaign option names the campaign and --stuff is a YAML file listing the exercises. The YAML file may look like:

    prologue: |
      Exercises in some language
      This is a multi-line text.
      title: first set of exerciss
      prologue: make heavy use of closures
      1: org.codegradx.js.min3.3
      2: org.codegradx.js.min4.2
      epilogue: Arrived here ? Good!
      title: second set of exercises
      1: org.codegradx.js.min4.2

In return, you get the compiled JSON equivalent description.


The Samples directory contains examples of XML files obtained from the CodeGradX infrastructure.

Some features of the underlying library codegradxlib cannot be operated through codegradxagent. The most prominent one is probably the history of the user: its past jobs, batches and exercises.

New features such as sending a whole directory as an exercise, checking the manifest fw4ex.xml could be added.

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