The SciPy 2007 Testing BoF

Thanks to a kind invitation by Fernando Perez, I was alerted to a BoF on Python/testing at SciPy. He made the mistake of introducing me as "the resident expert" so I felt even less inhibited than normal, which was hopefully not too problematic...

Gael Varoquaux took notes.

Basically, this was a lot of fun. I can't compare with previous years, but I feel like testing in Python is really being emphasized. Fernando shared some of his personal reasons for getting so interested, which was interesting in itself. Most people in the room seemed interested in getting started if they weren't already testing (well, duh, it was a BoF, but still...)

A few comments/thoughts/anecdotes.

I need to publicize the testing-in-python mailing list some more. It's quite low bandwidth and the signal-to-noise ratio has been essentially infinite (no noise!). Join!

nose is becoming very popular. Three or four of the people there (out of 20 or so) were using nose already, and had nothing but good things to say about it. I think extending my nose Introduction would be very relevant to the community.

Fernando really wanted to work within the stdlib, but several people tried to convince him that nose was worth the extra install.

There were a lot of very good requests for testing functionality that doesn't yet exist (see the wiki notes). There are some pretty good master's projects in there, actually...

The most interesting suggestion came from several people: people would like to be able to tie test results (performance, regression, code coverage) to specific code revisions and then query for results across revisions. I think something like the Test Anything Protocol might fit the bill, although it may be too simple.... Anyway, someone should develop this. Since I believe svn stores diffs, it could be as simple as appending the latest test results to a file, although this could be really stupid for a big project ;).

I recommend that people interested in GUI testing look at QT and KWWidgets. These are both toolkits with test hooks built in. KWWidgets is not well known, but it seems deserving of further attention.

Nobody else knows how to do multiprocessing code tests, either.

There's clearly enough interest out there to support a few simple "intro" guides to testing in Python...

All in all, a really fun time -- thanks for organizing this, Fernando!

--titus

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