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23.2.6 Advanced API

23.2.6 Advanced API

The basic API is a simple wrapper that's intended to make doctest easy to use. It is fairly flexible, and should meet most users' needs; however, if you require more fine-grained control over testing, or wish to extend doctest's capabilities, then you should use the advanced API.

The advanced API revolves around two container classes, which are used to store the interactive examples extracted from doctest cases:

  • Example: A single python statement, paired with its expected output.
  • DocTest: A collection of Examples, typically extracted from a single docstring or text file.

Additional processing classes are defined to find, parse, and run, and check doctest examples:

  • DocTestFinder: Finds all docstrings in a given module, and uses a DocTestParser to create a DocTest from every docstring that contains interactive examples.
  • DocTestParser: Creates a DocTest object from a string (such as an object's docstring).
  • DocTestRunner: Executes the examples in a DocTest, and uses an OutputChecker to verify their output.
  • OutputChecker: Compares the actual output from a doctest example with the expected output, and decides whether they match.

The relationships among these processing classes are summarized in the following diagram:

                            list of:
+------+                   +---------+
|module| --DocTestFinder-> | DocTest | --DocTestRunner-> results
+------+    |        ^     +---------+     |       ^    (printed)
            |        |     | Example |     |       |
            v        |     |   ...   |     v       |
           DocTestParser   | Example |   OutputChecker

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