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Sublime Test Plier

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This Sublime Text 3 (only) plugin allows python developers to run (a single or more) tests quickly from within a project environment.


Unlike other plugins for running python tests, which mostly use a regex pattern to find a given test to run, Sublime Test Plier parses the source using AST, and locates the class/method/function whose definition contains the caret position. The found results are passed as named arguments to the test command, which can be anything (py.test, nosetests, python or your-own-test-runner).


The simplest usage is simply running the build system; ctrl+shift+b (super+shift+b on OSX) and select test_plier - Python Tests from the build system selection drop-down, after using it once you may hit ctrl+b (super+b on OSX) to run the build system again. Alternatively, select test_plier - Python Tests (external) to run the test in an external terminal window.

Note: this works by running the test runner executable found using the same environment varaibles SublimeText was launched with; which, will work for the simplest of cases, but for most projects you will want to configure the test environment; for more details on this see configuration section below.

Run a specific test

This is the main reason for using Test Plier: you can use it to run a specified test module, class or function by placing the caret at the desired test location prior to running test all placeholders are replaced in cmd by the located test and selected text.

Launching an external terminal window

By default the test command is passed to SublimeText's built-in exec command which spawns the command and pipes it's output to the build results panel in the editor.

In most cases this is sufficient; but sometimes, an external terminal window is preferred, most often when user input is required (e.g pdb entered). Luckily, it is now possible to pass the test command to run in an external terminal window.

If RunPythonTestsCommand.external_runner is set (e.g in a subclass), or the build system kwargs contains an "external" property, the given command array is executed.

The existing command kwargs are parsed into a "shell-friendly" command (delimited arguments) that is passed as to this "external" command.


An example for an external command execution helpers is provided in the utils/ sub-dir. And when "external" command argument is set to true, the utils/ is launched, and this spawns a child process that calls osascript launch_in_iterm.applescript to run the test in an iTerm session (iTerm is an OSX terminal).

If you add your own terminal/os don't forget to submit a pull-request :) !


Test Command

By default the command we run is pytest {filename}::{test_class}::{test_func} -k {selection} --doctest-modules -v. Let us look at the substitute arguments with more detail:

  • --doctest-modules - if no UnitTest class/method given run module unittests
  • -v - verbose test output

Placeholder arguments are optional, and will be cleanly removed where possible:

  • {filename} - test target file
  • {test_class} - test target class
  • {test_func} - test target function/method
  • -k {selection} - use selected text as pattern

You may customize the command and any of it's parameters (all optional) in your project.sublime-project settings.

Build arguments

When setting up your build system, you may specify additional arguments:

argument description
cmd list of cmd line arguments as described in the above section
env key/value pair of ENV_VARIABLE: "value" to be passed to the process
extra_cmd_args extra arguments to add to the default command
working_dir set the working dir (reqiored to import the currently run module)
python_executable absolute path to a python executable, to run module parsing (AST) with, rather than the built-in python version (which is limited to 3.3 as of Sublime Text 3 build 3124, and through 7/2019)
sep_cleanup override the default seperator ("::") to strip inbetween interpolated parts.
syntax syntax file to use for styling the build result panel
external set to true to run the default external command (a python script that launches the test in existing or new iterm window); can be a list of arguments to launch custom commands (see get_default_command() function in utils/ for an example, and the relevant section above)

IMPORTANT: The only required argument of the build system is the target. It must be set to run_python_tests command, in order to execute build with SublimeTestPlier's command.


For example Django's test runner can be run like so:

                "PYTHONPATH": "/home/user/.venvs/project/lib/python2.7/site-packages",
                "REUSE_DB": "1"  // WARNING: remember to use strings as values
            "name": "Django Test",
            "target": "run_python_tests",
            "working_dir": "${project_path}/project/"

A py.test runner can be cofigured like this:

            "cmd": [
                "-k {selection}",
            "name": "Pytest Runner",
            "target": "run_python_tests"

For more info on the SublimeText build-system configuration see the unofficial documentation.

Sublime ANSI

This plugin supports passing the command through SublimeANSI to display ANSI colors in the ST output panel. This will be automatically activated if the plugin is installed.


Please refer to the contributing documentation