sptest - a Python unittest extension

Posted: 2008-09-10 13:06 [Source]
Tags:  foss personal free software

Even though this is meant to be an introduction to sptest, I want to start off by letting you know why I wrote this extension to the Python unittest module.

I am currently working on a (still private) project that uses Python's unittest module and the underlying framework. Even though unittest is a great utility for creating unit tests I found that the output it generates is unusable for me. I wanted something different though. Maybe a bit more aesthetic than the simple command line output unittest provides.

So I started off writing a class extending unittest.TestResult to fit my needs. I soon realized that interfacing with this part of unittest is not as easy as it could be, but I still continued to write my class.
After two hours of hacking I noticed that this class had become a monster. It was huge and I felt uncomfortable having such a huge class lying around somewhere in a "runtests.py" file for the only reason of having that pretty output.

This was the point when I decided to move all that code into a separate project and try to come up with a more intuitive API. This was the second when sptest was born, about 5 hours ago.

What I did come up with is a small Python module that makes customizing the way unit test results are presented (or stored) easier. It currently includes two output handler classes. One providing fancy CLI output on ANSI terminals and the other one providing XML output.

Additional output handler classes could store the result of the unit tests in a database or send it to a central point on the network, but implementing that is up to someone else, for now.

Running unit tests with sptest is as simple as calling:


By default the FancyCLIOutput handler class will be invoked and you will see why the handler is called the way it is immediatly.

In order to generate an XML file containing the test results one just has to modify the call to sptest to look like this:
sptest.TestMain(TestSuite, output_class=sptest.output.XMLOutput).run()

sptest also provides support for preparation and cleanup functions. The only thing you have to do is define these functions and adjust the arguments passed to TestMain accordingly.

Most of the code is already documented and a doxygen configuration file for generating the html documentation comes with the code. Also, two examples are included that show how to use sptest.