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Cohesion is a tool for measuring Python class cohesion.

In computer programming, cohesion refers to the degree to which the elements of a module belong together. Thus, cohesion measures the strength of relationship between pieces of functionality within a given module. For example, in highly cohesive systems functionality is strongly related.

When cohesion is high, it means that the methods and variables of the class are co-dependent and hang together as a logical whole.

  • Clean Code pg. 140

Some of the advantages of high cohesion, also by Wikipedia:

  • Reduced module complexity (they are simpler, having fewer operations).
  • Increased system maintainability, because logical changes in the domain affect fewer modules, and because changes in one module require fewer changes in other modules.
  • Increased module reusability, because application developers will find the component they need more easily among the cohesive set of operations provided by the module.


$ python -m pip install cohesion
$ cohesion -h


$ git clone
$ cd cohesion
$ PYTHONPATH=lib/ python -m cohesion -h


Cohesion measures class and instance variable usage across the methods of that class.

$ cat
class ExampleClass1(object):
    class_variable1 = 5
    class_variable2 = 6

    def func1(self):
        self.instance_variable = 6

        def inner_func(b):
            return b + 5

        local_variable = self.class_variable1

        return local_variable

    def func2(self):

    def func3(variable):
        return variable + 7

class ExampleClass2(object):
    def func1(self):
        self.instance_variable1 = 7
$ cohesion --files --verbose
  Class: ExampleClass1 (1:0)
    Function: func1 2/3 66.67%
      Variable: class_variable1 True
      Variable: class_variable2 False
      Variable: instance_variable True
    Function: func2 1/3 33.33%
      Variable: class_variable1 False
      Variable: class_variable2 True
      Variable: instance_variable False
    Function: func3 0/3 0.00%
      Variable: class_variable1 False
      Variable: class_variable2 False
      Variable: instance_variable False
    Total: 33.33%
  Class: ExampleClass2 (23:0)
    Function: func1 1/1 100.00%
      Variable: instance_variable1 True
    Total: 100.00%

The --below and --above flags can be specified to only show classes with a cohesion value below or above the specified percentage, respectively.

Flake8 Support

Cohesion supports being run by flake8. First, ensure your installation has registered cohesion:

$ flake8 --version
3.2.1 (pyflakes: 1.0.0, cohesion: 0.8.0, pycodestyle: 2.2.0, mccabe: 0.5.3) CPython 2.7.12 on Linux

And now use flake8 to lint your file:

$ flake8 H601 class has low cohesion

Python Versions

If you would like to simultaneously run Cohesion on Python 2 and Python 3 code then you will have to install it for both versions. I.e.

$ python2 -m pip install cohesion
$ python3 -m pip install cohesion

Then use the corresponding version to run the module:

$ python2 -m cohesion --files
$ python3 -m cohesion --files


First, install development packages:

$ python -m pip install -r requirements-dev.txt


$ nose2


$ flake8


$ nose2 --with-coverage