Contribution getting started

Contributions are highly welcomed and appreciated. Every little help counts, so do not hesitate!

Feature requests and feedback

Do you like pytest? Share some love on Twitter or in your blog posts!

We’d also like to hear about your propositions and suggestions. Feel free to submit them as issues and:

  • Explain in detail how they should work.
  • Keep the scope as narrow as possible. This will make it easier to implement.

Report bugs

Report bugs for pytest in the issue tracker.

If you are reporting a bug, please include:

  • Your operating system name and version.
  • Any details about your local setup that might be helpful in troubleshooting, specifically Python interpreter version, installed libraries and pytest version.
  • Detailed steps to reproduce the bug.

If you can write a demonstration test that currently fails but should pass (xfail), that is a very useful commit to make as well, even if you can’t find how to fix the bug yet.

Fix bugs

Look through the GitHub issues for bugs. Here is sample filter you can use:

Talk to developers to find out how you can fix specific bugs.

Don’t forget to check the issue trackers of your favourite plugins, too!

Implement features

Look through the GitHub issues for enhancements. Here is sample filter you can use:

Talk to developers to find out how you can implement specific features.

Write documentation

pytest could always use more documentation. What exactly is needed?

  • More complementary documentation. Have you perhaps found something unclear?
  • Documentation translations. We currently have only English.
  • Docstrings. There can never be too many of them.
  • Blog posts, articles and such – they’re all very appreciated.

You can also edit documentation files directly in the Github web interface without needing to make a fork and local copy. This can be convenient for small fixes.

Submitting Plugins to pytest-dev

Pytest development of the core, some plugins and support code happens in repositories living under the pytest-dev organisations:

All pytest-dev Contributors team members have write access to all contained repositories. pytest core and plugins are generally developed using pull requests to respective repositories.

The objectives of the pytest-dev organisation are:

  • Having a central location for popular pytest plugins
  • Sharing some of the maintenance responsibility (in case a maintainer no longer whishes to maintain a plugin)

You can submit your plugin by subscribing to the pytest-dev mail list and writing a mail pointing to your existing pytest plugin repository which must have the following:

  • PyPI presence with a that contains a license, pytest- prefixed name, version number, authors, short and long description.
  • a tox.ini for running tests using tox.
  • a README.txt describing how to use the plugin and on which platforms it runs.
  • a LICENSE.txt file or equivalent containing the licensing information, with matching info in
  • an issue tracker for bug reports and enhancement requests.

If no contributor strongly objects and two agree, the repository can then be transferred to the pytest-dev organisation.

Here’s a rundown of how a repository transfer usually proceeds (using a repository named joedoe/pytest-xyz as example):

  • One of the pytest-dev administrators creates:
    • pytest-xyz-admin team, with full administration rights to pytest-dev/pytest-xyz.
    • pytest-xyz-developers team, with write access to pytest-dev/pytest-xyz.
  • joedoe is invited to the pytest-xyz-admin team;
  • After accepting the invitation, joedoe transfers the repository from its original location to pytest-dev/pytest-xyz (A nice feature is that GitHub handles URL redirection from the old to the new location automatically).
  • joedoe is free to add any other collaborators to the pytest-xyz-admin or pytest-xyz-developers team as desired.

The pytest-dev/Contributors team has write access to all projects, and every project administrator is in it. We recommend that each plugin has at least three people who have the right to release to PyPI.

Repository owners can be assured that no pytest-dev administrator will ever make releases of your repository or take ownership in any way, except in rare cases where someone becomes unresponsive after months of contact attempts. As stated, the objective is to share maintenance and avoid “plugin-abandon”.

Preparing Pull Requests on GitHub

There’s an excellent tutorial on how Pull Requests work in the GitHub Help Center


What is a “pull request”? It informs project’s core developers about the changes you want to review and merge. Pull requests are stored on GitHub servers. Once you send pull request, we can discuss it’s potential modifications and even add more commits to it later on.

There’s an excellent tutorial on how Pull Requests work in the GitHub Help Center, but here is a simple overview:

  1. Fork the pytest GitHub repository. It’s fine to use pytest as your fork repository name because it will live under your user.

  2. Clone your fork locally using git and create a branch:

    $ git clone
    $ cd pytest
    # now, to fix a bug create your own branch off "master":
        $ git checkout -b your-bugfix-branch-name master
    # or to instead add a feature create your own branch off "features":
        $ git checkout -b your-feature-branch-name features

    Given we have “major.minor.micro” version numbers, bugfixes will usually be released in micro releases whereas features will be released in minor releases and incompatible changes in major releases.

    If you need some help with Git, follow this quick start guide:

  3. Install tox

    Tox is used to run all the tests and will automatically setup virtualenvs to run the tests in. (will implicitly use

    $ pip install tox
  4. Run all the tests

    You need to have Python 2.7 and 3.5 available in your system. Now running tests is as simple as issuing this command:

    $ python -e linting,py27,py35

    This command will run tests via the “tox” tool against Python 2.7 and 3.5 and also perform “lint” coding-style checks. is a thin wrapper around tox which installs from a development package index where newer (not yet released to pypi) versions of dependencies (especially py) might be present.

  5. You can now edit your local working copy.

    You can now make the changes you want and run the tests again as necessary.

    To run tests on py27 and pass options to pytest (e.g. enter pdb on failure) to pytest you can do:

    $ python -e py27 -- --pdb

    or to only run tests in a particular test module on py35:

    $ python -e py35 -- testing/
  6. Commit and push once your tests pass and you are happy with your change(s):

    $ git commit -a -m "<commit message>"
    $ git push -u

    Make sure you add a CHANGELOG message, and add yourself to AUTHORS. If you are unsure about either of these steps, submit your pull request and we’ll help you fix it up.

  7. Finally, submit a pull request through the GitHub website using this data:

    head-fork: YOUR_GITHUB_USERNAME/pytest
    compare: your-branch-name
    base-fork: pytest-dev/pytest
    base: master          # if it's a bugfix
    base: feature         # if it's a feature