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Format tracebacks better.

Project description

Note: This is a still an early pre-release. It partially works for me, but there are no guarantees.

Tracefront makes your tracebacks look like this:

Traceback (most recent line last):
  vi +44 noseprogressive/tests/  # test_error
    self._count_eq('ERROR: ', 2)
  vi +17 noseprogressive/tests/  # _count_eq
    eq_(str(self.output).count(text), count)
  vi +31 /Users/erose/kitsune/lib/python2.6/site-packages/  # eq_
    assert a == b, msg or "%r != %r" % (a, b)
AssertionError: 1 != 2


  • Judicious use of color and other formatting makes the traceback easy to scan. It’s especially easy to slide down the list of function names to keep your place while debugging.

  • Using relative paths (optional) and omitting redundant wording fits much more in limited screen space.

  • Editor shortcuts (see below) let you jump right to any problem line in your editor.

Editor Shortcuts

For each frame of a traceback, Tracefront provides an editor shortcut. This is a combination of a filesystem path and line number in a format understood by vi, emacs, the BBEdit command-line tool, and a number of other editors:

vi +361 apps/notifications/  # test_notification_completeness

Just triple-click (or what have you) to select the line, and copy and paste it onto the command line. You’ll land right at the offending line in your editor of choice. As a bonus, the editor shortcut is more compact than the stock traceback formatting, which is handy if you have something like a test runner printing a lot of them. If it looks like the output is going to a capable terminal, it’ll even use color.

You can set which editor to use by setting either of these, which Tracefront checks in order:

  • The $TRACEFRONT_EDITOR environment variable

  • The $EDITOR environment variable


Just do this…

pip install tracefront

…and all your tracebacks will be pretty and helpful.

How It Works

Tracefront shadows the stock traceback module, calling through for most stuff but replacing the core formatting bits. If a program makes assumptions about the composition of formatted tracebacks, it might break, but that would be weird, since there are more convenient representations easily available.


Tracefront is under the MIT License. See the LICENSE file.

Version History

  • Pulled the traceback formatting stuff out of nose-progressive. Barely tested at all. Will probably erase your drive.

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