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A plugin to use approvaltests with pytest

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A plugin to use approvaltests with pytest


  • command line options to choose which reporter to use on approval test failure

  • define your own diff reporter to use on approval test failure




You can install “pytest-approvaltests” via pip from PyPI:

$ pip install pytest-approvaltests


See also the documentation for approval tests

When your approval tests fail and you are working interactively, you might like it to open another diff tool than when you are on a CI server for example.

This plugin allows you to configure pytest with which diff tool to use when tests fail.

To set the default reporter to ‘PythonNativeReporter’, suitable for use on the command line:

pytest –approvaltests-use-reporter=’PythonNativeReporter’

To define your own diff reporter, perhaps a program with a rich GUI installed only on your developer workstation:

pytest –approvaltests-add-reporter=”diff_program”

The value for ‘approvaltests-add-reporter’ should be an executable program that can diff two files received as arguments on the command line like this:

diff_program filepath1 filepath2

if it takes additional arguments, add them with ‘approvaltests-add-reporter-args’:

pytest –approvaltests-add-reporter=”diff_program” –approvaltests-add-reporter-args=”arg1,arg2”

They will be inserted like this:

diff_program arg1 arg2 filepath1 filepath2

Tip for Jetbrains toolbox and PyCharm users

You can use PyCharm as a diff tool, which is convenient if you are also using it as an IDE. Especially if you’re using Toolbox, it can be difficult to find the actual executable to pass to pytest. You could try this while PyCharm is running:

ps -ef | grep PyCharm

If you’re lucky it will show the full path to the PyCharm that is executing. It may not be pretty. However, then you can configure pytest with arguments something like this:

–approvaltests-add-reporter-args=’diff’ –approvaltests-add-reporter=’/Users/emily/Library/Application Support/JetBrains/Toolbox/apps/PyCharm-P/ch-0/192.6262.63/’

In PyCharm, you can create a new ‘run configuration’ (see the [documentation]( Add a configuration using the ‘+’ button, choose “python tests | pytest”. Add these arguments to set the reporter for pytest under ‘Additional Arguments’.


Contributions are very welcome. Tests can be run with tox, please ensure the coverage at least stays the same before you submit a pull request.


Distributed under the terms of the MIT license, “pytest-approvaltests” is free and open source software


If you encounter any problems, please file an issue along with a detailed description.

Developer Notes

To release a new version on pypi:

python install

check it created an egg file under dist

python -m twine upload dist/pytest_approvaltests-<version>-py3.7.egg

You will need to enter a valid username and password for pypi

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