Using Tox

Harald Schilly edited this page May 26, 2013 · 10 revisions
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Tox is a generic virtualenv management and test command line tool, see the web page or this PyCon 2011 talk for more information. The idea is to set it up and run tests locally in different environments (different Python versions, different ground types etc).

The first step is installing it:

pip install tox

Then, create a tox.ini file in the root directory (where setup.py is located) by copying tox.ini.sample:

cp tox.ini.sample tox.ini

and adapt it to your environment by following the instructions inside the file.

Tox primer

Here's a simple yet fully functional example of tox.ini file:

[tox]
envlist = py25, py26, py27, docs
[testenv]
commands=python bin/test []
[testenv:docs]
commands=python bin/doctest [] 

The first section specifies the environments to be tested; py24-py32 are builtin environments (as are jython and pypy) while docs is a (simple) custom one defined later. Following [testenv] we have some basic commands to be executed (in our case, we simply call our test script, but it can be anything). The last part defines a custom "environment", which is just a way of running doctests separately. The brackets [] allow us to pass arguments to the script we are calling (see next part).

NOTE: The appropriate Python interpreters have to be installed for tox to work.

Finally, run tox with:

tox

or

tox -e py25  (builds just the given environments, can be a comma-separated list (no spaces!))

Tox will automatically create the necessary virtualenv, reusing them if they already exist (in case of some errors, you can force a rebuild with "tox --recreate") Everything else functions the same like normally.

It is also possible to call just specific tests, with the same syntax we currently support (that is the reason for [] in the tox.ini file). For example, the following command will recreate the Python 2.5 and 2.7 environments and run the hydrogen tests in them.

tox --recreate -e py25,py27 hydrogen

Installing multiple Python versions

In case your distribution doesn't provide multiple Python versions easily, you could try installing them from source. The trick is to use the following command:

sudo make altinstall

which will append the number version to the executable (ie. Python2.4, Python2.5 ..). This will assure that the system remains functioning; Tox will find the correct executables, if they are in your PATH. Otherwise, you may use the basepython variable inside the desired environment, as demonstrated in the sample tox.ini file.