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pytest is a program/framework for running Python tests.

Writing Tests

pytest looks for tests in Python files which either begin in test_ or end in _test, for example: # Will be found # Will be found # Won't be found

Inside these files, pytest will look for either:

  1. Functions that begin with test, or
  2. Functions/methods that begin with test that are inside classes that begin with Test.

For example:

def test_my_function(): # Will be found
  assert True

class TestMyStuff:
  def test_my_stuff(): # Will be found
    assert True

def my_other_function(): # Won't be found

Running Tests

Run All Tests In Module

$ pytest

Run All Tests In Directory

This will also run any tests in sub-directories:

$ pytest my_dir/

Test Name Matching

You can use -k to match against test name substrings. The following command will run all tests that contain the stinrg hello, e.g. test_hello_world, test_slow_hello():

$ pytest -k hello


Marks (or markers) can be applied to test functions using a decorator in the form @pytest.mark.name_of_mark.

For example, to apply a mark called unit (note that unit should defined as a custom mark before you use it like this, see the below Custom Marks section):

import pytest

def my_test_function():
  assert True

You can use the -m option on the command-line to only run tests with specific marks. The following command will run all tests in the current directory/sub-directory with the mark my_mark:

$ pytest -m unit

A common use-case is to specify tests with test types such as unit, e2e, performance, e.t.c so that you can easily run quick unit tests during development and longer running tests on merge or nightly.

You can also negatively select tests against a mark. The following command will run all tests to marked with unit:

$ pytest -m "not unit"

You can get a list of all the marks you can use from the command-line with:

$ pytest --markers

Custom Marks

Custom marks need to be registered before you can use them. They can be registered in your pytest.ini file, like so:

markers =
   unit: All unit tests (fast tests requiring no external dependancies).
   e2e: End-to-end tests.

As shown above, a description/comment can be added after the : symbol.

For more information of marks, see files are used to specify directory-specific pytest features. All files that are at the directory level of the test or closer to the root of the file system will be used when executing pytest. You can have many files per test project.

Common things to include into files include pytest hooks and fixtures, as well as loading external plugins specific to the tests in same directory.



xdist allows you to provide the -n option to distribute the tests to multiple CPUs:

$ pytest -n 4

Note however this will prevent all of your print() statements from working (as well as anything else the prints to stdout, e.g. log messages). As a workaround, you can redirect stdout to stderr:

import sys
sys.stdout = sys.stderr

This can be added to a file so that it applies to all tests in it’s directory and subdirectories. Be warned that all of the output will be interleaved, so it might make the output somewhat useless!


pytest has the ability to generate junit.xml files which are used by Jenkins to display the test results.

You can provide the --junitxml <path> option to pytest and it will generate the file for you:

$ pytest --junitxml /test_output/results.xml

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