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test-runner is a small library for discovering and running tests in projects using native Clojure deps (i.e, those that use only Clojure's built-in dependency tooling, not Leiningen/boot/etc.)


Clojure's 1.9 release included standalone tools for dependency resolution, classpath construction, and launching processes. Clojure also ships with a straightforward testing library, clojure.test.

Using these tools, however, there was no standard way to discover and run unit tests. Including a heavyweight project tool such as Leiningen or Boot just for the purpose of testing is overkill. Projects can build their own ad-hoc test runners, but these tend to lack features that will eventually be desired, and tend towards the "quick and dirty," besides being nonstandard from project to project.

This library aims to fill in the gap and provide a standardized, easy-to-use entry point for discovering and running unit and property-based tests while remaining a lightweight entry in Clojure's suite of decomplected project management tools.


Include a dependency on this project in your deps.edn. You will probably wish to put it in the test alias:

;; v0.5.1
:aliases {:test {:extra-paths ["test"]
                 :extra-deps {io.github.cognitect-labs/test-runner 
                              {:git/tag "v0.5.1" :git/sha "dfb30dd"}}
                 :main-opts ["-m" "cognitect.test-runner"]
                 :exec-fn cognitect.test-runner.api/test}}

Invoke with clojure -X (exec style)

Invoking the test-runner with clojure -X will call the test function with a map of arguments, which can be supplied either in the alias (via :exec-args) or on the command-line, or both.

Invoke it with:

clj -X:test ...args...

This will scan your project's test directory for any tests defined using clojure.test and run them.

You may also supply any of the additional command line options:

  :dirs - coll of directories containing tests, default= ["test"]
  :nses - coll of namespace symbols to test
  :patterns - coll of regex strings to match namespaces
  :vars - coll of fully qualified symbols to run tests on
  :includes - coll of test metadata keywords to include
  :excludes - coll of test metadata keywords to exclude"

If neither :dirs or :nses is supplied, will use:

  :patterns [".*-test$"]

Note that when supplying collections of values via clj -X, you will need to quote those vectors (also see quoting for more):

clj -X:test :dirs '["test" "integration"]'

Invoke with clojure -M (clojure.main)

To use the older clojure.main command line style:

clj -M:test ...args...

Use any of the additional command line options:

  -d, --dir DIRNAME            Name of the directory containing tests. Defaults to "test".
  -n, --namespace SYMBOL       Symbol indicating a specific namespace to test.
  -r, --namespace-regex REGEX  Regex for namespaces to test. Defaults to #".*-test$"
                               (i.e, only namespaces ending in '-test' are evaluated)
  -v, --var SYMBOL             Symbol indicating the fully qualified name of a specific test.
  -i, --include KEYWORD        Run only tests that have this metadata keyword.
  -e, --exclude KEYWORD        Exclude tests with this metadata keyword.
  -H, --test-help              Display this help message


There are three main steps to test execution:

  • Find dirs to scan - by default "test"
  • Find namespaces in those dirs (either by specific name or regex pattern or both) - by default all ending in "-test"
  • Find vars to invoke in those namespaces - by default all, unless specific vars are listed, further filtered by include and exclude metadata

Using Inclusions and Exclusions

You can use inclusions and exclusions to run only a subset of your tests, identified by metadata on the test var.

For example, you could tag your integration tests like so:

(deftest ^:integration test-live-system
  (is (= 200 (:status (http/get "")))))

Then to run only integration tests, you could do one of:

clj -X:test :includes '[:integration]'
clj -M:test -i :integration

Or to run all tests except for integration tests, one of:

clj -X:test :excludes '[:integration]'
clj -M:test -e :integration

If both inclusions and exclusions are present, exclusions take priority over inclusions.

Copyright and License

Copyright © 2018-2022 Cognitect

Licensed under the Eclipse Public License, Version 2.0