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23.2 doctest -- Test interactive Python examples

23.2 doctest -- Test interactive Python examples

The doctest module searches for pieces of text that look like interactive Python sessions, and then executes those sessions to verify that they work exactly as shown. There are several common ways to use doctest:

Here's a complete but small example module:

"""
This is the "example" module.

The example module supplies one function, factorial().  For example,

>>> factorial(5)
120
"""

def factorial(n):
    """Return the factorial of n, an exact integer >= 0.

    If the result is small enough to fit in an int, return an int.
    Else return a long.

    >>> [factorial(n) for n in range(6)]
    [1, 1, 2, 6, 24, 120]
    >>> [factorial(long(n)) for n in range(6)]
    [1, 1, 2, 6, 24, 120]
    >>> factorial(30)
    265252859812191058636308480000000L
    >>> factorial(30L)
    265252859812191058636308480000000L
    >>> factorial(-1)
    Traceback (most recent call last):
        ...
    ValueError: n must be >= 0

    Factorials of floats are OK, but the float must be an exact integer:
    >>> factorial(30.1)
    Traceback (most recent call last):
        ...
    ValueError: n must be exact integer
    >>> factorial(30.0)
    265252859812191058636308480000000L

    It must also not be ridiculously large:
    >>> factorial(1e100)
    Traceback (most recent call last):
        ...
    OverflowError: n too large
    """
    import math
    if not n >= 0:
        raise ValueError("n must be >= 0")
    if math.floor(n) != n:
        raise ValueError("n must be exact integer")
    if n+1 == n:  # catch a value like 1e300
        raise OverflowError("n too large")
    result = 1
    factor = 2
    while factor <= n:
        result *= factor
        factor += 1
    return result

def _test():
    import doctest
    doctest.testmod()

if __name__ == "__main__":
    _test()

If you run example.py directly from the command line, doctest works its magic:

$ python example.py
$

There's no output! That's normal, and it means all the examples worked. Pass -v to the script, and doctest prints a detailed log of what it's trying, and prints a summary at the end:

$ python example.py -v
Trying:
    factorial(5)
Expecting:
    120
ok
Trying:
    [factorial(n) for n in range(6)]
Expecting:
    [1, 1, 2, 6, 24, 120]
ok
Trying:
    [factorial(long(n)) for n in range(6)]
Expecting:
    [1, 1, 2, 6, 24, 120]
ok

And so on, eventually ending with:

Trying:
    factorial(1e100)
Expecting:
    Traceback (most recent call last):
        ...
    OverflowError: n too large
ok
1 items had no tests:
    __main__._test
2 items passed all tests:
   1 tests in __main__
   8 tests in __main__.factorial
9 tests in 3 items.
9 passed and 0 failed.
Test passed.
$

That's all you need to know to start making productive use of doctest! Jump in. The following sections provide full details. Note that there are many examples of doctests in the standard Python test suite and libraries. Especially useful examples can be found in the standard test file Lib/test/test_doctest.py.



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