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Project description

Artifact-py: a reimagining of artifact

NOTICE: this is in alpha. It works but likely has many bugs and missing features.

This is a reimplementation of artifact in python. It will be the barebones of artifact necessary to put it in a build system. No featureful cli, no web-ui. Just parsing and exporting of json/markdown/etc.

At the same time, this is not a strict rewrite. It is a reimagining and will probably guide the development of artifact 3.0.

Install with pip install artifact_py. It should work in python 2.7+ and 3+

Differences with artifact

The primary differences will be:

  • Written in python instead of rust for easier inclusion in legacy build systems.
  • The use of the new anchor_txt markdown attribute format, developed specifically for this project to not have dependencies on any specific markdown implementation.
  • Removal of .art/settings.toml, replaced with an attribute block anywhere in the markdown file.
  • Massive simplification of the cmdline tool. The CLI may be improved in the future.
  • A few minor tweaks to simplify how artifacts are specified and linked.
    • Markdown can be exported in place -- almost none of the document has to be changed.
    • Artifacts are now specified by the anchor in a header. Conventionally it will look like # This is my spec (SPC-mine) {#SPC-mine}. The {#SPC-mine} is a (not-quite) standard markdown anchor used to create a reference. The (SPC-mine) is by-convention so that humans can see that the header is specifying an artifact.
      • Note: anchor_txt also supported the html anchor <a id="SPC-mine" />, which is what is necessary in github
    • Artifact attributes are specified with a fenced code block. See SPC-design for an example.
    • Removal of [[REQ-foo]] references. Instead you just use [REQ-foo] or [@REQ-foo] for code. When you run art export --format md -i they will strip out references that look like and insert the correct links at the bottom of your document. (i.e. [@REQ-foo]: url/to/
    • Removal of specifying subparts (formerly called subnames) via [[REQ-foo.subpart]]. Simply specify them in your attributes with partof, and link to the code in your deisign doc with [@REQ-foo.subpart].
    • Has no special support for graphviz.
    • No exporting of the relationship of artifacts to the markdown file itself. In the author's opinion this frequently just added to clutter and was not especially useful.

Overall, this design works much more hand-in-hand with the standard markdown specification. It feels cleaner, and allows for easier conversion from an "arbitrary" design document to one that is rich in links to source code and other designs.

Features still to be added:

  • Currently only supports a single markdown file. I also want to re-imagine how large numbers of files/etc could be integrated before adding more files.
  • Linting -- no linter currently exists
  • text field in the json of artifact. It was not required for any implementation details and may be added later.
  • A stable json output format. It is still in flux.


See LICENSE for conditions of contributions.

Code is in python. Test using the following:

# create the python virtualenv's locally
make init

# run tests against python3
make test3

# run all checks required to ship
make check

Design (SPC-design)

  - artifact
  - settings
  - code
  - lint
  - tst-unittests

All attributes and settings are specified with an anchor_txt code block.

Settings are specified like this, anywhere in the document:

```yaml @
  root_dir: ./
    - src/

Artifact attributes like this:

```yaml @
  - SPC-other

  - function
  - tst-unit

Settings (SPC-design.settings)

code: @SPC-design.settings

Artifacts are injected from the --doc markdown design document. All settings/attributes are provided using the anchor_txt format. Settings are provided by adding the following to an artifact attribute anywhere in the document:

  • root_dir: the root directory when creating paths. This will affect where other path settings use as a reference.
  • code_paths: paths to files or directories to look for code. See Code Links for more information.
  • exclude_code_paths: paths to exclude when searching for artifacts.

Artifact (SPC-design.artifact)

code: @SPC-design.artifact

An artifact is a piece of documentation that can be linked to other pieces of documentation and to source code. It has the following attributes:

  • name: defines how it can be linked. The name is defined in the anchor header ({#REQ-foo})
    • There are three types of artifacts: REQ (requirement), SPC (specification), TST (test)
  • partof: the other artifacts this artifact is a partof.
  • subparts: pieces of an artifact that can be linked in code.
  • done: force an artifact to be considered specified and tested

Code Links (SPC-design.code)

code: @SPC-design.code

Artifacts are linked in code by:

  • Defining an artifact name or subpart
  • Specifying code_paths in Settings
  • Putting a tag anywhere in code of the form:
    • #SPC-foo

Artifact will run a regular expression over all files found in code_paths and will mark artifacts as specified/tested if they are linked in code.

Lints (SPC-design.lint)

Note: This is not yet implemented

code: [@SPC-design.lint]

The lint command will find errors in the design document, and how it is reflected in the code:

  • partof links that do not exist.
  • A REQ or SPC being partof a TST
  • Extra impl links in code
  • Having an artifact specified as "done" having an impl
  • Artifact or subpart like links in text (i.e. [REQ-does-not-exist]) that do not exist.
  • Design docs not being updated (run artifact export --format md -i to fix).
  • A link being found in code that does not have the doc_url prefixed. (i.e. artifact expects links in code to look like

Multi-project designs (SPC-design.multi)

Not yet implemented, design phase only

code: [@SPC-design.multi]

Artifact's previous design fell short of supporting multiple different designs, especially at scale. This rewrite/reimainging immagines the following principles:

  • Designs for a "module/package/submodule/etc" are contained within a single file. This links to a "small" amount of source code for that design and are specified in the artifact attribute in that file.
  • Linking to other design files can be done via a "references" object in the settings. They are specified like other_design: path/to/other/file
  • Inline links will then be auto-generated so that you can use [other_design#SPC-foo] to link to other documents.
    • Specified and tested ratios are not affected by these links.

Because the designs are only linked together (not dependent on eachother for completion ratios), each design can be calculated independently and it's metadata serialized so that other projects can link to it.

Unit Tests (SPC-design.tst-unittests)

code: @SPC-design.tst-unittests

The unit tests offer almost complete coverage. Nearly all of the features are tested using a data-driven approach. There is a markdown file, with a yaml file of the same name. The yml file has the expected value after parsing the markdown file.

Also tested:

  • That exporting the project results in the expected markdown file


The source code is Licensed under either of

at your option.

Unless you explicitly state otherwise, any contribution intentionally submitted for inclusion in the work by you, as defined in the Apache-2.0 license, shall be dual licensed as above, without any additional terms or conditions.


  root_dir: './'

    - artifact_py/
    - tests/

    - tests/artifacts_only/
    - tests/projects/
    - tests/


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