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image image 3rd January 2017

Continuous Integration with Python

Ok – confession time. I missed something really important when it comes to Continuous Integration using Python.

Previously, whichever tool we were using for our Continuous Integration builds, we would create a bundle of scripts to get the code built and tested.

Typically, the steps followed were:

  • Pull the latest version of code
  • Create a virtual environment
  • Install dependencies
  • Run unit tests
  • Evaluate test coverage
  • Publish the tested library somewhere

Typically, this would result in some sort of `run-build.sh` – which sort of defeats the point of running a build server if you’re just going to hand-craft your own scripts!

This issue was that not all ‘Custom commands’ in the various build servers (Jenkins, Bamboo, Team Foundation Server/VSTS etc) can be instructed in the same way. They also don’t handle python virtual environments particularly well!

Until now, that is.

One word: tox

What is tox?

Tox is a generic virtualenv management and test command line tool you can use for:

checking your package installs correctly with different Python versions and interpreters
running your tests in each of the environments, configuring your test tool of choice
acting as a frontend to Continuous Integration servers, greatly reducing boilerplate and merging CI and shell-based testing.

In practical terms, tox is a python package which is configured using a simple tox.ini file, looking something like this:

envlist = py26,py27
deps=pytest       # install pytest in the venvs


So, now I can run just one command to build in multiple different versions of Python and environments.



How did we miss this?!

If you are like me, then I strongly recommend you give this a shot. You can thank me later.

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