nosetests Man page



nosetests – Nicer testing for Python



nosetests [options] [names]


nose collects tests automatically from python source files, directories
and packages found in its working directory (which defaults to the cur‐
rent working directory). Any python source file, directory or package
that matches the testMatch regular expression (by default:
(?:^|[b_.-])[Tt]est) will be collected as a test (or source for collec‐
tion of tests). In addition, all other packages found in the working
directory will be examined for python source files or directories that
match testMatch. Package discovery descends all the way down the tree,
so package.tests and package.sub.tests and package.sub.sub2.tests will
all be collected.

Within a test directory or package, any python source file matching
testMatch will be examined for test cases. Within a test module, func‐
tions and classes whose names match testMatch and TestCase subclasses
with any name will be loaded and executed as tests. Tests may use the
assert keyword or raise AssertionErrors to indicate test failure. Test‐
Case subclasses may do the same or use the various TestCase methods

It is important to note that the default behavior of nose is to not
include tests from files which are executable. To include tests from
such files, remove their executable bit or use the –exe flag (see
‘Options’ section below).

Selecting Tests
To specify which tests to run, pass test names on the command line:


Test names specified may be file or module names, and may optionally
indicate the test case to run by separating the module or file name
from the test case name with a colon. Filenames may be relative or
absolute. Examples:

nosetests test.module
nosetests another.test:TestCase.test_method
nosetests a.test:TestCase
nosetests /path/to/test/

You may also change the working directory where nose looks for tests by
using the -w switch:

nosetests -w /path/to/tests

Note, however, that support for multiple -w arguments is now deprecated
and will be removed in a future release. As of nose 0.10, you can get
the same behavior by specifying the target directories without the -w

nosetests /path/to/tests /another/path/to/tests

Further customization of test selection and loading is possible through
the use of plugins.

Test result output is identical to that of unittest, except for the
additional features (error classes, and plugin-supplied features such
as output capture and assert introspection) detailed in the options

In addition to passing command-line options, you may also put configu‐
ration options in your project’s setup.cfg file, or a .noserc or
nose.cfg file in your home directory. In any of these standard
ini-style config files, you put your nosetests configuration in a
[nosetests] section. Options are the same as on the command line, with
the — prefix removed. For options that are simple switches, you must
supply a value:

[nosetests] verbosity=3

All configuration files that are found will be loaded and their options
combined. You can override the standard config file loading with the -c

Using Plugins
There are numerous nose plugins available via easy_install and else‐
where. To use a plugin, just install it. The plugin will add command
line options to nosetests. To verify that the plugin is installed, run:

nosetests –plugins

You can add -v or -vv to that command to show more information about
each plugin.

If you are running nose.main() or from a script, you can
specify a list of plugins to use by passing a list of plugins with the
plugins keyword argument.

0.9 plugins
nose 1.0 can use SOME plugins that were written for nose 0.9. The
default plugin manager inserts a compatibility wrapper around 0.9 plug‐
ins that adapts the changed plugin api calls. However, plugins that
access nose internals are likely to fail, especially if they attempt to
access test case or test suite classes. For example, plugins that try
to determine if a test passed to startTest is an individual test or a
suite will fail, partly because suites are no longer passed to
startTest and partly because it’s likely that the plugin is trying to
find out if the test is an instance of a class that no longer exists.

0.10 and 0.11 plugins
All plugins written for nose 0.10 and 0.11 should work with nose 1.0.

-V, –version
Output nose version and exit

-p, –plugins
Output list of available plugins and exit. Combine with higher
verbosity for greater detail

-v=DEFAULT, –verbose=DEFAULT
Be more verbose. [NOSE_VERBOSE]

Set verbosity; –verbosity=2 is the same as -v

Be less verbose

-c=FILES, –config=FILES
Load configuration from config file(s). May be specified multi‐
ple times; in that case, all config files will be loaded and

-w=WHERE, –where=WHERE
Look for tests in this directory. May be specified multiple
times. The first directory passed will be used as the working
directory, in place of the current working directory, which is
the default. Others will be added to the list of tests to exe‐
cute. [NOSE_WHERE]

Look for tests in this directory under Python 3.x. Functions the
same as ‘where’, but only applies if running under Python 3.x or
above. Note that, if present under 3.x, this option completely
replaces any directories specified with ‘where’, so the ‘where’
option becomes ineffective. [NOSE_PY3WHERE]

-m=REGEX, –match=REGEX, –testmatch=REGEX
Files, directories, function names, and class names that match
this regular expression are considered tests. Default:
(?:^|[b_./-])[Tt]est [NOSE_TESTMATCH]

Run these tests (comma-separated list). This argument is useful
mainly from configuration files; on the command line, just pass
the tests to run as additional arguments with no switch.

Activate debug logging for one or more systems. Available debug
loggers: nose, nose.importer, nose.inspector, nose.plugins,
nose.result and nose.selector. Separate multiple names with a

Log debug messages to this file (default: sys.stderr)

–logging-config=FILE, –log-config=FILE
Load logging config from this file — bypasses all other logging
config settings.

-I=REGEX, –ignore-files=REGEX
Completely ignore any file that matches this regular expression.
Takes precedence over any other settings or plugins. Specifying
this option will replace the default setting. Specify this
option multiple times to add more regular expressions

-e=REGEX, –exclude=REGEX
Don’t run tests that match regular expression [NOSE_EXCLUDE]

-i=REGEX, –include=REGEX
This regular expression will be applied to files, directories,
function names, and class names for a chance to include addi‐
tional tests that do not match TESTMATCH. Specify this option
multiple times to add more regular expressions [NOSE_INCLUDE]

-x, –stop
Stop running tests after the first error or failure

-P, –no-path-adjustment
Don’t make any changes to sys.path when loading tests

–exe Look for tests in python modules that are executable. Normal
behavior is to exclude executable modules, since they may not be
import-safe [NOSE_INCLUDE_EXE]

DO NOT look for tests in python modules that are executable.
(The default on the windows platform is to do so.)

Traverse through all path entries of a namespace package

–first-package-wins, –first-pkg-wins, –1st-pkg-wins
nose’s importer will normally evict a package from sys.modules
if it sees a package with the same name in a different location.
Set this option to disable that behavior.

Prevent nose from byte-compiling the source into .pyc files
while nose is scanning for and running tests.

-a=ATTR, –attr=ATTR
Run only tests that have attributes specified by ATTR

-A=EXPR, –eval-attr=EXPR
Run only tests for whose attributes the Python expression EXPR
evaluates to True [NOSE_EVAL_ATTR]

-s, –nocapture
Don’t capture stdout (any stdout output will be printed immedi‐

Disable logging capture plugin. Logging configuration will be
left intact. [NOSE_NOLOGCAPTURE]

Specify custom format to print statements. Uses the same format
as used by standard logging handlers. [NOSE_LOGFORMAT]

Specify custom date/time format to print statements. Uses the
same format as used by standard logging handlers. [NOSE_LOG‐

Specify which statements to filter in/out. By default, every‐
thing is captured. If the output is too verbose, use this option
to filter out needless output. Example: filter=foo will capture
statements issued ONLY to
foo or foo.what.ever.sub but not foobar or other logger. Spec‐
ify multiple loggers with comma: filter=foo,bar,baz. If any
logger name is prefixed with a minus, eg filter=-foo, it will be
excluded rather than included. Default: exclude logging messages
from nose itself (-nose). [NOSE_LOGFILTER]

Clear all other logging handlers

Set the log level to capture

Enable plugin Coverage: Activate a coverage report using Ned
Batchelder’s coverage module.

Restrict coverage output to selected packages [NOSE_COVER_PACK‐

Erase previously collected coverage statistics before run

Include test modules in coverage report [NOSE_COVER_TESTS]

Minimum percentage of coverage for tests to pass

Include all python files under working directory in coverage
report. Useful for discovering holes in test coverage if not
all files are imported by the test suite. [NOSE_COVER_INCLUSIVE]

Produce HTML coverage information

Produce HTML coverage information in dir

Include branch coverage in coverage report [NOSE_COVER_BRANCHES]

Produce XML coverage information

Produce XML coverage information in file

–pdb Drop into debugger on failures or errors

Drop into debugger on failures

Drop into debugger on errors

Disable special handling of DeprecatedTest exceptions.

Enable plugin Doctest: Activate doctest plugin to find and run
doctests in non-test modules.

Also look for doctests in test modules. Note that classes, meth‐
ods and functions should have either doctests or non-doctest
tests, not both. [NOSE_DOCTEST_TESTS]

Also look for doctests in files with this extension

Change the variable name set to the result of the last inter‐
preter command from the default ‘_’. Can be used to avoid con‐
flicts with the _() function used for text translation.

Find fixtures for a doctest file in module with this name
appended to the base name of the doctest file



Specify options to pass to doctest. Eg. ‘+ELLIPSIS,+NORMAL‐

Enable plugin IsolationPlugin: Activate the isolation plugin to
isolate changes to external modules to a single test module or
package. The isolation plugin resets the contents of sys.modules
after each test module or package runs to its state before the
test. PLEASE NOTE that this plugin should not be used with the
coverage plugin, or in any other case where module reloading may
produce undesirable side-effects.

-d, –detailed-errors, –failure-detail
Add detail to error output by attempting to evaluate failed

Enable plugin Profile: Use this plugin to run tests using the
hotshot profiler.

Set sort order for profiler output

Profiler stats file; default is a new temp file on each run

Restrict profiler output. See help for pstats.Stats for details

Disable special handling of SkipTest exceptions.

Enable plugin TestId: Activate to add a test id (like #1) to
each test name output. Activate with –failed to rerun failing
tests only.

Store test ids found in test runs in this file. Default is the
file .noseids in the working directory.

Run the tests that failed in the last test run.

Spread test run among this many processes. Set a number equal to
the number of processors or cores in your machine for best
results. Pass a negative number to have the number of processes
automatically set to the number of cores. Passing 0 means to
disable parallel testing. Default is 0 unless NOSE_PROCESSES is

Set timeout for return of results from each test runner process.

If set, will restart each worker process once their tests are
done, this helps control memory leaks from killing the system.

Enable plugin Xunit: This plugin provides test results in the
standard XUnit XML format. [NOSE_WITH_XUNIT]

Path to xml file to store the xunit report in. Default is
nosetests.xml in the working directory [NOSE_XUNIT_FILE]

Name of the testsuite in the xunit xml, generated by plugin.
Default test suite name is nosetests.

Enable plugin AllModules: Collect tests from all python modules.

Enable collect-only: Collect and output test names only, don’t
run any tests.


Nose developers


2009, Jason Pellerin

1.3 April 04, 2015 NOSETESTS(1)

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