A Django aware way of running python tests from within Vim
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A simple way of running tests for your python files from within VIM.

This plugin was created to allow running Django tests with django-nose that require database interaction from within Vim. Thus avoiding the need to toggle between your vim session and the shell for longer periods of time. It will also run your regular python unit tests with nosetests as well when not working on a Django project.




Use your plugin manager of choice.

  • Pathogen
    • git clone https://github.com/JarrodCTaylor/vim-python-test-runner ~/.vim/bundle/vim-python-test-runner
  • Vundle
    • Add Plugin 'JarrodCTaylor/vim-python-test-runner' to .vimrc
    • Run :PluginInstall
  • NeoBundle
    • Add NeoBundle 'https://github.com/JarrodCTaylor/vim-python-test-runner' to .vimrc
    • Run :NeoBundleInstall
  • vim-plug
    • Add Plug 'https://github.com/JarrodCTaylor/vim-python-test-runner' to .vimrc
    • Run :PlugInstall


You need a VIM version that was compiled with python support, which is typical for most distributions on Linux/Mac. You can check this by running vim --version | grep +python if you get a hit you are in business.

Tests are ran with either django-nose or nosetest so these will need to be pip installed in order for the plugin to function properly.


The plugin provides nine commands:

  • DjangoTestApp: Run all tests for the current app
  • DjangoTestFile: Run all tests in the current file
  • DjangoTestClass: Run all tests in the current class
  • DjangoTestMethod: Run test for the current method
  • NosetestFile: Run all tests for the current file
  • NosetestClass: Run all tests in the current class
  • NosetestMethod: Run the current test method (inside of a class)
  • NosetestBaseMethod: Run the current test method (outside of a class)
  • RerunLastTests: Rerun the last tests

All arguments can be tab-completed. Ensure that your cursor is within a file, class or method as appropriate for the command being called.

For ease of usage you can map the above actions to a shortcut. For example, if you wanted leader mappings you could set something like the following in your vimrc:

    nnoremap <Leader>da :DjangoTestApp<CR>
    nnoremap <Leader>df :DjangoTestFile<CR>
    nnoremap <Leader>dc :DjangoTestClass<CR>
    nnoremap <Leader>dm :DjangoTestMethod<CR>
    nnoremap <Leader>nf :NosetestFile<CR>
    nnoremap <Leader>nc :NosetestClass<CR>
    nnoremap <Leader>nm :NosetestMethod<CR>
    nnoremap <Leader>nb :NosetestBaseMethod<CR>
    nnoremap <Leader>rr :RerunLastTests<CR>

Quickfix Results

Your tests results will be available in the quickfix window after they finish running and you return to your Vim buffer. Open quickfix with :copen and you can jump to failing tests by placing your cursor on the desired test and pressing enter.

Required Configuration File for Django Tests

To make use of the plugin for Django projects you will need to create a small config file named .vim-django in the root of your project that defines some information about the apps you would like to run tests for. Assuming a basic folder structure the config file would be saved in the following location.

── Project Root
   ├── .vim-django
   ├── manage.py
   ├── app1
   │   └── tests
   │       └── testsa1.py
   └── app2
       └── tests
           ├── testsb1.py
           └── testsb2.py

Config file contents

Required fields

The only required field is a list of the app names that you will be running tests for. "app_name": "app1, app2"

Optional fields

Optional fields that can be set in the vim-django config file are as follows:

  • environment: If you have modified your manage.py file to accept an environment argument then you may use the environment flag to specify which one to run tests for. Example "environment": "dev" If you haven't modified your manage.py file then you don't need to use this.

  • flags: An array of flags that you would like passed to the test runner See example config file below for usage.

  • test-runner: Set if you are using the default Django test runner Example "test-runner": "django"

vim-django config file example

Using the example project above we would set the app name to "app1, app2" The environment field is optional. We are also saying that we want the test to use the fail fast option.

{"app_name": "app1, app2",
 "environment": "OptionalNameOfEnv",
 "flags": ["failfast"]}

NOTE be sure to use double quotes in the config file as it is parsed as json

vim-django config file example for namespace packages

Namespace packages are supported, but require slightly different placement of the .vim-django config file. Rather than placing it in the project root place it in the lowest level package. For example, given a namespace package called organization.department.team the .vim-django file would be inside of the team directory.

── Project Root
   ├── manage.py
   └── organization
       └── department
           └── team
               └── .vim-django
               └── testsa1.py
               └── tests
                   ├── testsb1.py
                   └── testsb2.py

The .vim-django file will contain only the top level package name, in this case organization, for example:

{"app_name": "organization"}

Outside of Django

Nothing other than nose is required to use this plugin for tests that are outside of a Django application.