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Rule your architecture like a real developer

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pytest-archon is a little tool that helps you structure (large) Python projects. This tool allows you to define architectural boundaries in your code, also known as forbidden dependencies.

Explicitly defined architectural boundaries helps you keep your code in shape. It avoids the creation of circular dependencies. New people on the project are made aware of the structure through a simple set of rules, instead of lore.


The simple way:

pip install pytest-archon


pytest-archon can be used to define architectural boundaries from (unit) tests. Because they're tests, they can be closely tied to the actual application.

You can use pytest-archon in tests by simply importing the archrule function. Using this function you can construct import tests:

from pytest_archon import archrule

def test_rule_basic():
        archrule("name", comment="some comment")
  • To match the modules and constraints, fnmatch syntax is used (the default). You can also use regular expressions by supplying the use_regex=True argument to archrule(). Example: archrule(..., use_regex=True).match(...).
  • .exclude() is optional
  • .should_import() and .should_not_import() can be combined and can occur multiple times.
  • .may_import() can be used in combination with .should_not_import().
  • .check() needs either a module object or a string

The check() method can have a few optional parameters, that alter the way the checks are performed.

  • Without parameters, the whole file is checked for imports. So imports done in functions and methods are also found. Transitive dependencies are also checked
  • Option only_toplevel_imports=True will only check for toplevel imports. Conditional imports and import in functions and methods are ignored.
  • skip_type_checking=True will check all imports, but skip imports defined in if typing.TYPE_CHECKING blocks.
  • only_direct_imports=True will only check for imports performed by the module directly and will not check transitive imports.
  • If only_toplevel_imports=True is set, skip_type_checking=True has no effect.
  • Options can be combined.
Check toplevel imports Check TYPE_CHECKING imports Check conditional imports, and imports in functions and methods Check transitive imports
no options enabled


def test_domain():
    # test if the domain model does not import other submodules
    # (the domain model should be standing on its own and be used by other modules)
        archrule("domain", comment="domain does not import any other submodules")
        .match("packageX.domain*") # matches packageX.domain and packageX.domain.*

util module is used at more than one place

You can also supply custom constraints as predicate functions.

If you, for example, have a common or util module, you might want to make sure that it is used at least at two places (otherwise it would not make sense to have a separate module).

from pytest_archon import archrule

def test_utils_are_shared():
    def have_at_least_two_users(util_module, direct_imports, all_imports):
        # iterate through all imports and find modules using the util_module in question
        users = [k for k, v in all_imports.items() if util_module in v]
        # return True if more than two modules use the util_module
        return len(users) > 2


See also

The blog post How to tame your Python codebase is also a good overview.

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