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Once you are ready specifying your experimental screens, you can test your LIONESS experiment. This page describes basic procedures of how test your experiment and make adjustments on the fly. Once you are done testing, you can download your experiment, put it on your own server, and run your experiment online

Compile your LIONESS experiment

In LIONESS Lab, click 'compile and test', and compile your experiment by selecting 'compile' from the drop-down menu. During the compilation process, LIONESS Lab activates a PHP script that will build the database underlying your experiment and creates the experimental pages from the stages that you defined in each of the tabs. Once the compilation process has completed, a new tab will open with the Control panel of your LIONESS experiment. All further testing can be done from the control panel.

In case you want to make any changes to your screens, you can go back to LIONESS Lab. You can use the 'Update screens' option from the same drop-down menu. This will create the experimental pages, without re-building the tables. In most cases this means that you can directly view your changes by refreshing the page in the participant's screen, and continue testing. In cases where you added new variables (e.g. by adding a new input element or by using the record() function in a JavaScript element), you have to re-build the tables and start a new test session.

Test mode

Start testing.png

In the top bar of the Control panel, make sure that the experiment is active. Then, switch on the test mode. Two buttons will appear: 'Start testplayer' and 'Start bot'.


When you click 'Start testplayer', a new tab opens in your browser, which takes you to the first stage of your experiment. You can see the screens that a participant in your experiment would see. Multiple testplayers are supported.


In experiments with many stages (or large groups), it can be useful to automate some players, while operating some others as test players. The 'bot' functionality will help you do that. Clicking the button 'start bot' will open a new tab with a robot player. With automated JavaScript functions, this 'bot' will give random responses to input elements and will try to proceed through your experiment. We write 'try' here, because the 'bot' is still in beta version and is not yet able to deal with more sophisticated ways to record data with JavaScript functions.

Debugging program code

One of the key purposes of testing your experiment is to check whether all program code works as intended. Find pointers to debug the code in your JavaScript elements here.

Monitor progress and data recording

In the bottom part of your Control panel you can browse the tables of your experiment and monitor the progress of a session. In the 'core' tab, you can keep track of the test players by selecting to view the variables 'playerNr', 'groupNr', 'period' and 'onPage'. Once you have started one or more Testplayers, they should be visible a entries in this table.

One of the key purposes of testing is to check whether participants' responses are recorded correctly, and to verify if any calculations are performed as they should. For this, the decisions table is most useful. For each period, a new row is added to this table for each participant. Values should appear there once they are entered in the participants' screens.