Contribution getting started¶
Contributions are highly welcomed and appreciated. Every little bit of 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 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 the 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 cannot fix the bug itself.
Talk to developers to find out how you can fix specific bugs. To indicate that you are going to work on a particular issue, add a comment to that effect on the specific issue.
Don’t forget to check the issue trackers of your favourite plugins, too!
Look through the GitHub issues for enhancements.
Talk to developers to find out how you can implement specific features.
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 using a local copy. This can be convenient for small fixes.
Build the documentation locally with the following command:
$ tox -e docs
The built documentation should be available in
where ‘en’ refers to the documentation language.
def my_function(arg: ArgType) -> Foo:
"""Do important stuff.
More detailed info here, in separate paragraphs from the subject line.
Use proper sentences -- start sentences with capital letters and end
Can include annotated documentation:
:param short_arg: An argument which determines stuff.
A long explanation which spans multiple lines, overflows
:returns: The result.
Detailed information when this can happen.
.. versionadded:: 6.0
Including types into the annotations above is not necessary when
type-hinting is being used (as in this example).
Submitting Plugins to pytest-dev¶
Pytest development of the core, some plugins and support code happens
in repositories living under the
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 wishes 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 packaging metadata that contains a
pytest-prefixed name, version number, authors, short and long description.
READMEdescribing how to use the plugin and on which platforms it runs.
LICENSEfile containing the licensing information, with matching info in its packaging metadata.
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
Here’s a rundown of how a repository transfer usually proceeds
(using a repository named
joedoe/pytest-xyz as example):
joedoetransfers repository ownership to
joedoeto both as maintainer.
calvintransfers repository to
pytest-devand configures team access:
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 rest 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¶
Fork the repository.
Fetch tags from upstream if necessary (if you cloned only main
git fetch --tags https://github.com/pytest-dev/pytest).
Enable and install pre-commit to ensure style-guides and code checks are followed.
Follow PEP-8 for naming.
Tests are run using
tox -e linting,py39
The test environments above are usually enough to cover most cases locally.
changelog/2574.bugfix.rst, use issue id number and one of
trivialfor the issue type.
Unless your change is a trivial or a documentation fix (e.g., a typo or reword of a small section) please add yourself to the
AUTHORSfile, in alphabetical order.
What is a “pull request”? It informs the project’s core developers about the changes you want to review and merge. Pull requests are stored on GitHub servers. Once you send a pull request, we can discuss its 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.
Here is a simple overview, with pytest-specific bits:
Fork the pytest GitHub repository. It’s fine to use
pytestas your fork repository name because it will live under your user.
Clone your fork locally using git and create a branch:
$ git clone firstname.lastname@example.org:YOUR_GITHUB_USERNAME/pytest.git $ cd pytest $ git fetch --tags https://github.com/pytest-dev/pytest # now, create your own branch off "main": $ git checkout -b your-bugfix-branch-name main
Given we have “major.minor.micro” version numbers, bug fixes will usually be released in micro releases whereas features will be released in minor releases and incompatible changes in major releases.
You will need the tags to test locally, so be sure you have the tags from the main repository. If you suspect you don’t, set the main repository as upstream and fetch the tags:
$ git remote add upstream https://github.com/pytest-dev/pytest $ git fetch upstream --tags
If you need some help with Git, follow this quick start guide: https://git.wiki.kernel.org/index.php/QuickStart
Install pre-commit and its hook on the pytest repo:
$ pip install --user pre-commit $ pre-commit install
pre-commitwill run whenever you commit.
https://pre-commit.com/ is a framework for managing and maintaining multi-language pre-commit hooks to ensure code-style and code formatting is consistent.
Tox is used to run all the tests and will automatically setup virtualenvs to run the tests in. (will implicitly use https://virtualenv.pypa.io/en/latest/):
$ pip install tox
Run all the tests
You need to have Python 3.8 or later available in your system. Now running tests is as simple as issuing this command:
$ tox -e linting,py39
This command will run tests via the “tox” tool against Python 3.9 and also perform “lint” coding-style checks.
You can now edit your local working copy and run the tests again as necessary. Please follow PEP-8 for naming.
You can pass different options to
tox. For example, to run tests on Python 3.9 and pass options to pytest (e.g. enter pdb on failure) to pytest you can do:
$ tox -e py39 -- --pdb
Or to only run tests in a particular test module on Python 3.9:
$ tox -e py39 -- testing/test_config.py
pre-commitwill re-format the files if necessary.
If instead of using
toxyou prefer to run the tests directly, then we suggest to create a virtual environment and use an editable install with the
$ python3 -m venv .venv $ source .venv/bin/activate # Linux $ .venv/Scripts/activate.bat # Windows $ pip install -e ".[testing]"
Afterwards, you can edit the files and run pytest normally:
$ pytest testing/test_config.py
Create a new changelog entry in
changelog. The file should be named
<issueid>.<type>.rst, where issueid is the number of the issue related to the change and type is one of
trivial. You may skip creating the changelog entry if the change doesn’t affect the documented behaviour of pytest.
Add yourself to
AUTHORSfile if not there yet, in alphabetical order.
Commit and push once your tests pass and you are happy with your change(s):
$ git commit -a -m "<commit message>" $ git push -u
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: main
Writing tests for plugins or for pytest itself is often done using the pytester fixture, as a “black-box” test.
For example, to ensure a simple test passes you can write:
result = pytester.runpytest()
Alternatively, it is possible to make checks based on the actual output of the termal using glob-like expressions:
result = pytester.runpytest()
result.stdout.fnmatch_lines(["*assert False*", "*1 failed*"])
When choosing a file where to write a new test, take a look at the existing files and see if there’s
one file which looks like a good fit. For example, a regression test about a bug in the
should go into
test_cacheprovider.py, given that this option is implemented in
If in doubt, go ahead and open a PR with your best guess and we can discuss this over the code.
Joining the Development Team¶
Anyone who has successfully seen through a pull request which did not require any extra work from the development team to merge will themselves gain commit access if they so wish (if we forget to ask please send a friendly reminder). This does not mean there is any change in your contribution workflow: everyone goes through the same pull-request-and-review process and no-one merges their own pull requests unless already approved. It does however mean you can participate in the development process more fully since you can merge pull requests from other contributors yourself after having reviewed them.
Backporting bug fixes for the next patch release¶
Pytest makes a feature release every few weeks or months. In between, patch releases are made to the previous feature release, containing bug fixes only. The bug fixes usually fix regressions, but may be any change that should reach users before the next feature release.
Suppose for example that the latest release was 1.2.3, and you want to include a bug fix in 1.2.4 (check https://github.com/pytest-dev/pytest/releases for the actual latest release). The procedure for this is:
First, make sure the bug is fixed in the
mainbranch, with a regular pull request, as described above. An exception to this is if the bug fix is not applicable to
backport 1.2.x label to the PR you want to backport. This will create
a backport PR against the
git checkout origin/1.2.x -b backport-XXXX# use the main PR number here
Locate the merge commit on the PR, in the merged message, for example:
nicoddemus merged commit 0f8b462 into pytest-dev:main
git cherry-pick -x -m1 REVISION# use the revision you found above (
Open a PR targeting
Prefix the message with
Delete the PR body, it usually contains a duplicate commit message.
Who does the backporting¶
As mentioned above, bugs should first be fixed on
main (except in rare occasions
that a bug only happens in a previous release). So, who should do the backport procedure described
If the bug was fixed by a core developer, it is the main responsibility of that core developer to do the backport.
However, often the merge is done by another maintainer, in which case it is nice of them to do the backport procedure if they have the time.
For bugs submitted by non-maintainers, it is expected that a core developer will to do the backport, normally the one that merged the PR on
If a non-maintainers notices a bug which is fixed on
mainbut has not been backported (due to maintainers forgetting to apply the needs backport label, or just plain missing it), they are also welcome to open a PR with the backport. The procedure is simple and really helps with the maintenance of the project.
All the above are not rules, but merely some guidelines/suggestions on what we should expect about backports.
Handling stale issues/PRs¶
Stale issues/PRs are those where pytest contributors have asked for questions/changes and the authors didn’t get around to answer/implement them yet after a somewhat long time, or the discussion simply died because people seemed to lose interest.
There are many reasons why people don’t answer questions or implement requested changes: they might get busy, lose interest, or just forget about it, but the fact is that this is very common in open source software.
The pytest team really appreciates every issue and pull request, but being a high-volume project with many issues and pull requests being submitted daily, we try to reduce the number of stale issues and PRs by regularly closing them. When an issue/pull request is closed in this manner, it is by no means a dismissal of the topic being tackled by the issue/pull request, but it is just a way for us to clear up the queue and make the maintainers’ work more manageable. Submitters can always reopen the issue/pull request in their own time later if it makes sense.
When to close¶
Here are a few general rules the maintainers use deciding when to close issues/PRs because of lack of inactivity:
needs information: closed after 14 days inactive.
proposal: closed after six months inactive.
Pull requests: after one month, consider pinging the author, update linked issue, or consider closing. For pull requests which are nearly finished, the team should consider finishing it up and merging it.
The above are not hard rules, but merely guidelines, and can be (and often are!) reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
Closing pull requests¶
When closing a Pull Request, it needs to be acknowledging the time, effort, and interest demonstrated by the person which submitted it. As mentioned previously, it is not the intent of the team to dismiss a stalled pull request entirely but to merely to clear up our queue, so a message like the one below is warranted when closing a pull request that went stale:
First of all, we would like to thank you for your time and effort on working on this, the pytest team deeply appreciates it.
We noticed it has been awhile since you have updated this PR, however. pytest is a high activity project, with many issues/PRs being opened daily, so it is hard for us maintainers to track which PRs are ready for merging, for review, or need more attention.
So for those reasons we, think it is best to close the PR for now, but with the only intention to clean up our queue, it is by no means a rejection of your changes. We still encourage you to re-open this PR (it is just a click of a button away) when you are ready to get back to it.
Again we appreciate your time for working on this, and hope you might get back to this at a later time!
When a pull request is submitted to fix an issue, add text like
closes #XYZW to the PR description and/or commits (where
XYZW is the issue number). See the GitHub docs for more information.
When an issue is due to user error (e.g. misunderstanding of a functionality), please politely explain to the user why the issue raised is really a non-issue and ask them to close the issue if they have no further questions. If the original requestor is unresponsive, the issue will be handled as described in the section Handling stale issues/PRs above.