Section: User Commands (1)
Updated: July 2007
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nosetests - unit testing for Python software  


nosetests [options] [names]  


nose provides extended test discovery and running features for unittest.

nose collects tests automatically from python source files, directories and packages found in its working directory (which defaults to the current 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 collection 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, functions 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. TestCase subclasses may do the same or use the various TestCase methods available.

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, use the -w switch:

nosetests -w /path/to/tests

Note however that support for multiple -w arguments is deprecated in this version and will be removed in a future release, since as of nose 0.10 you can get the same behavior by specifying the target directories *without* the -w switch:

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 below.


In addition to passing command-line options, you may also put configuration options in a .noserc or nose.cfg file in your home directory. These are standard .ini-style config files. Put your nosetests configuration in a [nosetests] section, with the -- prefix removed:


All configuration files that are found will be loaded and their options combined.  


-h, --help
show this help message and exit
-V, --version
Output nose version and exit
-p, --plugins
Output list of available plugins and exit. Combine with higher verbosity for greater detail
-v, --verbose
Be more verbose. [NOSE_VERBOSE]
Set verbosity; --verbosity=2 is the same as -v
-q, --quiet
-c FILES, --config=FILES
Load configuration from config file(s). May be specified multiple times; in that case, all config files will be loaded and combined
-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 execute. [NOSE_WHERE]
-m TESTMATCH, --match=TESTMATCH, --testmatch=TESTMATCH
Use this regular expression to find tests [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.
-l DEBUG, --debug=DEBUG
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 comma.
Log debug messages to this file (default: sys.stderr)
--logging-config=LOGGINGCONFIG, --log-config=LOGGINGCONFIG
Load logging config from this file -- bypasses all other logging config settings.
-e EXCLUDE, --exclude=EXCLUDE
Don't run tests that match regular expression [NOSE_EXCLUDE]
-i INCLUDE, --include=INCLUDE
Also run tests that match regular expression [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 [NOSE_NOPATH]
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.)
Enable plugin HtmlOutput: Output test results as ugly, unstyled html. [NOSE_WITH_HTML-OUTPUT]
Enable plugin NoseWatch: watch failing tests, retesting when modified [NOSE_WITH_WATCH]
Enable plugin Stopwatch: (no help available) [NOSE_WITH_STOPWATCH]
Run only tests that are faster than FASTER_THAN seconds.
Store test timing results in this file.
Enable plugin FigleafSections: (no help available) [NOSE_WITH_FIGLEAFSECTIONS]
Store figleaf section coverage in this file
Apply attributes in this file to matching functions, classes, and methods
Enable plugin NoseTTY: run nosetests more interactively [NOSE_WITH_TTY]
Enable plugin NoseTTY: run nosetests more interactively [NOSE_TTY]
editor program [NOSE_TTY_EDITOR or EDITOR] (currently: `None`)
template to invoke edit command. [NOSE_TTY_EDIT_CMD] (currently: `%(editor)s %(filename)s --line %(lineno)s`)
-a ATTR, --attr=ATTR
Run only tests that have attributes specified by ATTR [NOSE_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 immediately) [NOSE_NOCAPTURE]
Enable plugin Coverage: If you have Ned Batchelder's coverage module installed, you may activate a coverage report. The coverage report will cover any python source module imported after the start of the test run, excluding modules that match testMatch. If you want to include those modules too, use the --covertests switch, or set the NOSE_COVER_TESTS environment variable to a true value. To restrict the coverage report to modules from a particular package or packages, use the --cover-packages switch or the NOSE_COVER_PACKAGES environment variable. [NOSE_WITH_COVERAGE]
Restrict coverage output to selected packages [NOSE_COVER_PACKAGE]
Erase previously collected coverage statistics before run
Include test modules in coverage report [NOSE_COVER_TESTS]
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]
Drop into debugger on errors
Drop into debugger on failures
Disable special handling of DeprecatedTest exceptions.
Enable plugin Doctest: Activate doctest plugin to find and run doctests in non-test modules. [NOSE_WITH_DOCTEST]
Also look for doctests in test modules [NOSE_DOCTEST_TESTS]
Also look for doctests in files with this extension [NOSE_DOCTEST_EXTENSION]
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 in any other case where module reloading may produce undesirable side-effects. [NOSE_WITH_ISOLATION]
-d, --detailed-errors, --failure-detail
Add detail to error output by attempting to evaluate failed asserts [NOSE_DETAILED_ERRORS]
Enable plugin Profile: Use this plugin to run tests using the hotshot profiler. [NOSE_WITH_PROFILE]
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. After you've run once to generate test ids, you can re-run individual tests by activating the plugin and passing the ids (with or without the # prefix) instead of test names. [NOSE_WITH_ID]
Store test ids found in test runs in this file.


nose is written by Jason Pellerin. This manpage was adapted from the output of the help2man(1) program by Jason Pellerin, following the version made by Gustavo Noronha Silva for the Debian GNU/Linux system, but may be used by others.  


Copyright (C) 2005-2007 Jason Pellerin

This is free software. You may redistribute copies of it under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License <>. There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.  


The project website is at




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Time: 05:29:06 GMT, December 24, 2015