The doctest module searches a module's docstrings for text that looks like an interactive Python session, then executes all such sessions to verify they still work exactly as shown. Here's a complete but small example:
""" This is module example. Example 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: try: result *= factor except OverflowError: result *= long(factor) factor += 1 return result def _test(): import doctest, example return doctest.testmod(example) 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 Running example.__doc__ Trying: factorial(5) Expecting: 120 ok 0 of 1 examples failed in example.__doc__ Running example.factorial.__doc__ 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 Trying: factorial(30) Expecting: 265252859812191058636308480000000L ok
And so on, eventually ending with:
Trying: factorial(1e100) Expecting: Traceback (most recent call last): ... OverflowError: n too large ok 0 of 8 examples failed in example.factorial.__doc__ 2 items passed all tests: 1 tests in example 8 tests in example.factorial 9 tests in 2 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 docstrings in doctest.py contain detailed information about all aspects of doctest, and we'll just cover the more important points here.