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Doctests in Lino

tested document

A documentation page that contain blocks of Python code marked by a >>> in the beginning of each line, and which is getting tested using Python's doctest command as part of a test suite.

The doctest command extracts code snippets from any text file, executes them checks whether their output is the same as the one displayed in the document.

When you want to use doctest for testing Django code, you need to specify a Django settings module. Here is an example of how you do that:

>>> import lino
>>> lino.startup('lino_book.projects.min1.settings')
>>> from lino.api.doctest import *

Yes, this is one of the important reasons why we have demo projects. The Developer Guide repository contains over 1000 documents, and many of them (actually about 176) contain doctest snippets.

Most tested documents use the database of some demo project. When your developer environment is installed, you can re-play the instructions on such pages interactively in a Django shell session on the project they use.

They require of course that the demo project has been populated previously by inv prep, not on a temporary test database as the Django test runner creates it.

The advantage of this method (compared to using the Django test runner) is that they don't need to populate the database (load the demo fixtures) for each test run. A limitation of this method is of course that they may not modify the database. That's why we sometimes call them static or passive. They just observe whether everything looks as expected. When you want to test something that modifies the database, you don't write a tested document but a Django test case.


The test suite of a repository with tested documents has a file test_docs.py in its tests directory, which calls atelier.test.make_docs_suite() to automatically create a unit test for every document in the doctree. A simple test_docs.py file looks like this:

from atelier.test import make_docs_suite

def load_tests(loader, standard_tests, pattern):
    suite = make_docs_suite("docs")
    return suite

The initialization code usually imports and calls lino.startup(), then imports everything (*) from the lino.api.doctest module (which contains a selection of the most frequently used commands used in doctests).

See also: