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Mutation testing

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# Cosmic Ray: mutation testing for Python

“Four human beings – changed by space-born cosmic rays into something more than merely human.” — The Fantastic Four

Cosmic Ray is a mutation testing tool for Python.

## N.B.! Cosmic Ray is still learning how to walk!

At this time Cosmic Ray is young and incomplete. It doesn’t support all of the mutations it should, its output format is crude, it only supports some forms of test discovery, it may fall over on exotic modules…[the list goes on and on]( Still, for the adventurous it does work. Hopefully things will improve fairly rapidly.

And, of course, patches and ideas are welcome.

## The short version

If you just want to get down to the business of finding and killing mutants, you still need to set a few things up.

### Install Cosmic Ray

First install Cosmic Ray. You can do this with pip:

` pip install cosmic_ray `

or from source:

` python install `

We recommend installing it into a virtual environment. Often it makes sense to install it into the virtual environment of the package you want to test.

### Install RabbitMQ and start a worker

Next you need to install [RabbitMQ]( Cosmic Ray uses this message queue (via [Celery]( to distribute testing tasks. Once installed, start the server. This is very platform-specific, so see the instructions for RabbitMQ on how to do this.

Once RabbitMQ is running, you need to start one or more Cosmic Ray worker tasks to listen for commmands on the queue. Start a worker like this:

` celery -A cosmic_ray.tasks.worker worker `

You can start as many workers as you want. Be aware that these workers - and the processes they spawn - need to be able to import the modules you want to test. As a result, you generally want to start them in the virtual environment into which you’ve installed Cosmic Ray.

### Create a session and run tests

Finally, you’re ready to start killing mutants. Cosmic Ray uses a notion of sessions to encompass a full mutation testing suite. Since mutation testing runs can take a long time, and since you might need to stop and start them, sessions store data about the progress of a run. The first step in a full testing run, then, is to initialize a session:

` cosmic-ray init --baseline=10 <session name> <top module name> -- <test directory> `

This will create a database file called <session name>.json. Once this is created, you can start executing tests with the exec command:

` cosmic-ray exec <session name> `

Unless there are errors, this won’t print anything.

### View the results

Once the execution is complete (i.e., all mutations have been performed and tested), you can see the results of your session with the report command:

` cosmic-ray report <session name> `

This will print out a bunch of information about the work that was performed, including what kinds of mutants were created, which were killed, and – chillingly – which survived.

[Further documentation is available at readthedocs](

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