Tom Augspurger edited this page Jan 29, 2014 · 12 revisions

First off - thank you for writing test cases - they're really important in developing pandas!

Typical Imports

import nose
import unittest
import pandas.util.testing as tm
from pandas.util.testing import makeCustomDataframe as mkdf

Making your tests behave well

pandas committers run test cases after every change (as does Travis), so it's important that you make your tests well-behaved. Balancing that, it's important that your test cases cover the functionality of your addition, so that when others make changes, they can be confident that they aren't introducing errors in your code. This includes:

  1. marking network-using test cases with @network (see below).
  2. marking slow tests with @slow
  3. using smaller test cases where it makes sense (for example, if you're testing a numexpr evaluation, you can generally just set expr._MIN_ELEMENTS = 0 and go ahead, rather than needing to test on a frame of at least 10K elements).
  4. making sure to skip tests (or even test files) if a required import is not available.

In addition, stylistically, the preference is to group multiple related tests under one test function and not to use the generator functionality of nose in order to keep the actual # of tests small.


def test_million_element_arithmetic():
    df = mkdf(100000, 100000)
    tm.assert_frame_equal(df.mod(df) * df * 0, df * 0)

Additional imports

When creating a subclass of unittest.TestCase there are useful instance methods such as self.assertEqual(a, b) that allow you to test the equality of two objects. These are not available as functions in the Python standard library. However, these methods are available as functions in the nose.tools module. To use self.assertEqual(a, b) in a function you would put from nose.tools import assert_equal somewhere in the file and then call it wherever you need it.

Important: make sure to document failure conditions (and use the assertRaisesRegexp where necessary to make it clearer which exception you want to get). Testing for Exception is strongly discouraged.

Testing using a File

This context manager allows safe read/write access to a temporary file, with a generated filename (or your filename if provided). The file will be automatically deleted when the context block is exited.

with tm.ensure_clean('my_file_path') as path:
    # do something with the path

Testing for Exceptions

Generally, it's not acceptable to just check that something raises Exception, because that tends to mask a lot of errors. For example, if a function's signature changes between releases, you could be catching the wrong kind of error altogether. Going forward, the goal is to have no test cases that pass if Exception or a subclass is raised (we're not quite there yet).

Another element that is helpful is to use assertRaisesRegexp from pandas.util.testing. It lets you be very explicit with what you expect (and prevents hiding errors like changing signatures, etc.)

with tm.assertRaises(ValueError):
   raise ValueError("an error")
with tm.assertRaisesRegexp(TypeError, 'invalid literal'):

Handling tests requiring network connectivity

Please run your tests without an internet connection before submitting a PR! (it's really important that your tests not fail when you have no internet connection (i.e., they should skip with out a network connection). In general, network tests are finicky. All tests that involve networking must be marked as "network", either by using the network decorator or the with_connectivity_check decorator from pandas.util.testing.Unless you absolutely need to test that a function/method correctly handles connectivity errors, you should use the network decorator, which will catch all IOErrors (which includes URLError). If you believe that your test case will only fail if you simply aren't connected to the internet, you can use the with_connectivity_test to check:

>>> @with_connectivity_check
... def test_my_function():
...     urllib2.urlopen("funny://rabbithead")
>>> test_my_function()
Traceback (most recent call last)
URLError...#some message

If you want to have the decorator always raise errors, just pass raise_on_error=True to the network decorator:

>>> @network(raise_on_error=True)
... def test2():
...     raise URLError("WRONG!")
Traceback (most recent call last)

The with_connectivity_check decorator defaults to checking http://www.google.com to determine whether it is connected. But if you had a test that depends on yahoo, it might make sense to check yahoo instead:

def some_test_with_yahoo():
    # do something etc.

It's a good idea to break up network tests into at least two parts:

  1. Tests that check that the code works and gracefully handles errors.
  2. Tests that really only matter if you have network connectivity (like making sure that the current Google Analytics feed is being processed properly).

For (1), you might want to use @network(raise_on_error=True), because those tests should not fail without connectivity.

For (2), you should definitely suppress network errors, and, particularly if you have a slow test, you may even want to check for connectivity first (so the test never even runs if there isn't a network connection). You can do that easily by passing check_before_test=True to with_connectivity_check:

@with_connectivity_check("http://www.somespecificsite.com", check_before_test=True)
def some_test():
    for i in range(1000):

Testing for Warnings

To test for warnings, you can use the assert_produces_warning contextmanager, which checks that your code produces a warning.

Probably the most common case is just a test case for a DeprecationWarning:

>>> with assert_produces_warning(DeprecationWarning):
...     some_function_that_raises_deprecation_warning()

With no arguments, it checks that any warning is raised.

    >>> import warnings
    >>> with assert_produces_warning():
    ...     warnings.warn(UserWarning())

When passed False, it checks that no warnings are raised.

    >>> with assert_produces_warning(False):
    ...     warnings.warn(RuntimeWarning())
    Traceback (most recent call last):
    AssertionError: Caused unexpected warning(s): ['RuntimeWarning'].

Finally, if you pass it a warning class, it will check that the specific class of warning was raised and no other.

    >>> with assert_produces_warning(UserWarning):
    ...     warnings.warn(RuntimeWarning())
    Traceback (most recent call last):
    AssertionError: Did not see expected warning of class 'UserWarning'.

Reading from either a URL or zip file

Reading from a url

from pandas.io.common import urlopen
with urlopen('http://www.google.com') as url:
    raw_text = url.read()

Reading a file named file.txt that's inside of a zip file named file.zip

from pandas.io.common import ZipFile
with ZipFile('file.zip') as zf:
    raw_text = zf.read('file.txt')

Hook up travis-ci

We use travis for testings the entire library across various python versions. If you hook up your fork to run travis, then it is displayed prominently whether your pull request passes or fails the testing suite. This is incredibly helpful.

If it shows that it passes, great! We can consider merging.
If there's a failure, this let's you and us know there is something wrong, and needs some attention before it can be considered for merging.

Sometimes Travis will say a change failed for reasons unrelated to your pull request. For example there could be a build error or network error. To get Travis to retest your pull request, do the following:

git commit --amend -C HEAD
git push origin <yourbranch> -f
You can’t perform that action at this time.
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