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A radical approach to testing ansible content

Project description


Note to version 1.x users

Users of tox-ansible v1 should use the stable/1.x branch because the default branch is a rewrite of the plugin for tox 4.0+ which is not backward compatible with the old plugin.

The rewritten plugin will feature additional options for facilitating running tests of any repository with Ansible content:

Ability to run molecule scenarios (planned)

Close-to-zero configuration goals (in progress)

Focus on testing collections (initial implementation)


tox-ansible is a utility designed to simplify the testing of ansible content collections.

Implemented as tox plugin, tox-ansible provides a simple way to test ansible content collections across multiple python interpreter and ansible versions.

tox-ansible uses familiar python testing tools to perform the actual testing. It uses tox to create and manage the testing environments, ansible-test sanity to run the sanity tests, and pytest to run the unit and integration tests. This eliminated the black box nature of other approaches and allows for more control over the testing process.

When used on a local development system, each of the environments are left intact after a test run. This allows for easy debugging of failed tests for a given test type, python interpreter and ansible version.

By using tox to create and manage the testing environments, Test outcomes should always be the same on a local development system as they are in a CI/CD pipeline.

tox virtual environments are created in the .tox directory. These are easily deleted and recreated if needed.


Install from pypi:

pip install tox-ansible


tox-ansible will install additional dependencies if necessary:

  • tox version 4.0 or greater.
  • pytest-ansible version 3.1.0 or greater.
  • pytest
  • pytest-xdist
  • pyyaml


From the root of your collection, create an empty tox-ansible.ini file and list the available environments:

touch tox-ansible.ini
tox list --ansible --conf tox-ansible.ini

A list of dynamically generated ansible environments will be displayed:

default environments:
integration-py3.11-2.14      -> Integration tests for ansible.scm using ansible-core 2.14 and python 3.11
integration-py3.11-devel     -> Integration tests for ansible.scm using ansible-core devel and python 3.11
integration-py3.11-milestone -> Integration tests for ansible.scm using ansible-core milestone and python 3.11
sanity-py3.11-2.14           -> Sanity tests for ansible.scm using ansible-core 2.14 and python 3.11
sanity-py3.11-devel          -> Sanity tests for ansible.scm using ansible-core devel and python 3.11
sanity-py3.11-milestone      -> Sanity tests for ansible.scm using ansible-core milestone and python 3.11
unit-py3.11-2.14             -> Unit tests for ansible.scm using ansible-core 2.14 and python 3.11
unit-py3.11-devel            -> Unit tests for ansible.scm using ansible-core devel and python 3.11
unit-py3.11-milestone        -> Unit tests for ansible.scm using ansible-core milestone and python 3.11

These represent the testing environments that are available. Each denotes the type of tests that will be run, the python interpreter used to run the tests, and the ansible version used to run the tests.

To run tests with a single environment, simply run the following command:

tox -e sanity-py3.11-2.14 --ansible --conf tox-ansible.ini

To run tests with multiple environments, simply add the environment names to the command:

tox -e sanity-py3.11-2.14,unit-py3.11-2.14 --ansible --conf tox-ansible.ini

To run all tests of a specific type in all available environments, use the factor -f flag:

tox -f unit --ansible -p auto --conf tox-ansible.ini

To run all tests across all available environments:

tox --ansible -p auto --conf tox-ansible.ini

Note: The -p auto flag will run multiple tests in parallel. Note: The specific python interpreter will need to be pre-installed on you system, e.g.:

sudo dnf install python3.9

To review the specific commands and configuration for each of the integration, sanity, and unit factors:

tox config --ansible --conf tox-ansible.ini


tox-ansible should be configured using a tox-ansible.ini file. Using a tox-ansible.ini file allows for the introduction of the tox-ansible plugin to a repository that may already have an existing tox configuration without conflicts. If no configuration overrides are needed, the tox-ansible.ini file may be empty, but should be present. In addition to all tox supported keywords the ansible section and skip keyword is available:

# tox-ansible.ini
skip =

This will skip tests in any environment that use ansible 2.9 or the devel branch. The list of strings are used for a simple string in string comparison of environment names.

Overriding the configuration

Any configuration in either the [testenv] section or am environment section [testenv:integration-py3.11-{devel,milestone}] can override some or all of the tox-ansible environment configurations.

For example

commands_pre =

commands =

will result in:

# tox-ansible.ini
commands_pre = true
commands = true

Used without caution, this configuration can result in unexpected behavior, and possible false positive or false negative test results.

Usage in a CI/CD pipeline

The repo contains a github workflow that can be used in a github actions CI/CD pipeline. The workflow will run all tests across all available environments, unless limited by the skip option in the tox-ansible.ini file.

Each environment will be run in a separate job. The workflow will run all jobs in parallel.

The github matrix is dynamically created by tox-ansible using the --gh-matrix and --ansible flags. The list of environments is converted to a list of entries in json format and added the file specified by the "GITHUB_OUTPUT" environment variable. The workflow will read this file and use it to create the matrix.

A sample use of the github workflow might look like this:

name: Test collection

  group: ${{ github.workflow }}-${{ github.event.pull_request.number || github.ref }}
  cancel-in-progress: true

    branches: [main]

    uses: tox-dev/tox-ansible/.github/workflows/run.yml@main

Sample json

  // ...
    "description": "Integration tests using ansible-core devel and python 3.11",
    "factors": ["integration", "py3.11", "devel"],
    "name": "integration-py3.11-devel",
    "python": "3.11"
  // ...

How does it work?

tox will, by default, create a python virtual environment for a given environment. tox-ansible adds ansible collection specific build and test logic to tox. The collection is copied into the virtual environment created by tox, built, and installed into the virtual environment. The installation of the collection will include the collection's collection dependencies. tox-ansible will also install any python dependencies from a test-requirements.txt and requirements.txt file. The virtual environment's temporary directory is used, so the copy, build and install steps are performed with each test run ensuring the current collection code is used.

tox-ansible also sets the ANSIBLE_COLLECTIONS_PATHS environment variable to point to the virtual environment's temporary directory. This ensures that the collection under test is used when running tests. The pytest-ansible-units pytest plugin injects the ANSIBLE_COLLECTIONS_PATHS environment variable into the collection loader so ansible-core can locate the collection.

pytest is ued to run both the unit and integration tests. ansible-test sanity is used to run the sanity tests.

For a full configuration examples for each of the sanity, integration, and unit tests including the commands being run and the environments variables being set and passed, see the following:

See the tox documentation for more information on tox.



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