Alex Hasha Alex Hasha - 9 months ago 42
Python Question

Import errors when running nosetests that I can't reproduce outside of nose

I'm running into a mysterious import error when using nosetests to run a test suite that I can't reproduce outside of the nose. Furthermore, the import error disappears when I skip a subset of the tests.

Executive Summary: I am getting an import error in Nose that a) only appears when tests bearing a certain attribute are excluded and b) cannot be reproduced in an interactive python session, even when I ensure that the sys.path is the same for both.


The package structure looks like this:


Some of the tests in are slow, so I've created a @slow decorator to allow me to skip them with a nosetests option:

def slow(func):
"""Decorator sets slow attribute on a test method, so
nosetests can skip it in quick test mode."""
func.slow = True
return func

class TestFoo(unittest.TestCase):

def test_slow_test(self):

def test_fast_test(self):

When I want to run the fast unit tests only, I use

nosetests -vv -a'!slow'

from the root directory of the project. When I want to run them all, I remove the final argument.

Here comes the detail that I suspect is to blame for this mess. The unit tests need to load test data from files (not best practice, I know.) The files are placed in a directory called "test_data" in each test package, and the unit test code refers to them by a relative path, assuming the unit test is being run from the test/ directory, as shown in the example code above.

To get this to work with running nose from the root directory of the project, I added the following code to in each test package:

import os
import sys

orig_wd = os.getcwd()

def setUp():
test package setup: change working directory to the root of the test package, so that
relative path to test data will work.

def tearDown():
global orig_wd

As far as I understand, nose executes the setUp and tearDown package methods before and after running the tests in that package, which ensures that the unit test can find the appropriate test_data directory, and the working directory is reset to the original value when the tests are complete.

So much for the setup. The problem is, I get an import error only when I run the full suite of tests. The same modules import just fine when I exclude the slow tests. (To clarify, the tests throwing import errors are not slow, so they execute in either scenario.)

$ nosetests

ERROR: Failure: ImportError (No module named foo_test)
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "/Library/Python/2.7/site-packages/nose/", line 413, in loadTestsFromName
addr.filename, addr.module)
File "/Library/Python/2.7/site-packages/nose/", line 47, in importFromPath
return self.importFromDir(dir_path, fqname)
File "/Library/Python/2.7/site-packages/nose/", line 80, in importFromDir
fh, filename, desc = find_module(part, path)
ImportError: No module named foo_test

If I run the test suite without the slow tests, then no error:

$ nosetests -a'!slow'


test_fast_test (module1.test.foo_test.TestFoo) ... ok

In a python interactive session, I can import the test module with no trouble:

$ python
Python 2.7.1 (r271:86832, Aug 5 2011, 03:30:24)
[GCC 4.2.1 (Based on Apple Inc. build 5658) (LLVM build 2335.15.00)] on darwin
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import module1.test
>>> module1.test.__path__
>>> dir(module1.test)
['__builtins__', '__doc__', '__file__', '__name__', '__package__', '__path__', 'orig_wd', 'os', 'setUp', 'sys', 'tearDown']

When I set a breakpoint in nose/, things look different:

> /Library/Python/2.7/site-packages/nose/
-> raise
(Pdb) l
78 part, part_fqname, path)
79 try:
80 fh, filename, desc = find_module(part, path)
81 except ImportError, e:
82 import pdb; pdb.set_trace()
83 -> raise
84 old = sys.modules.get(part_fqname)
85 if old is not None:
86 # test modules frequently have name overlap; make sure
87 # we get a fresh copy of anything we are trying to load
88 # from a new path

(Pdb) part
(Pdb) path
(Pdb) import module1.test.foo_test
*** ImportError: No module named foo_test
#If I import module1.test, it works, but the file is not being executed
(Pdb) import partition.test
(Pdb) del dir
(Pdb) dir(partition.test)
['__doc__', '__file__', '__name__', '__package__', '__path__'] #setUp and tearDown missing?
(Pdb) module1.test.__path__
['/Users/USER/project/module1/test'] #Module path is the same as before.
(Pdb) os.listdir(partition.test.__path__[0]) #All files are right where they should be...
['.svn', '', '__init__.pyc', '', 'foo_test.pyc','test_data']

I see the same screwy results even if I copy sys.path from my interactive session into the pdb session and repeat the above. Can anyone give me any insight about what might be going on? I realize I'm doing several non-standard things at the same time, which could lead to strange interactions. I'd be as interested in advice on how to simplify my architecture as I would be to get an explanation for this bug.

Answer Source

Here is how to track down the context of the error.

nosetests --debug=nose,nose.importer --debug-log=nose_debug <your usual args>

Afterwards, check the nose_debug file. Search for your error message "No module named foo_test". Then look at the preceding few lines to see which files/directories nose was looking at.

In my case, nose was attempting to run some code which I had imported into my codebase - a 3rd party module which contained its own tests, but which I was not intending to include in my test suite. To resolve this, I used the nose-exclude plugin to exclude this directory.