The Hypothesis Example Database

When Hypothesis finds a bug it stores enough information in its database to reproduce it. This enables you to have a classic testing workflow of find a bug, fix a bug, and be confident that this is actually doing the right thing because Hypothesis will start by retrying the examples that broke things last time.


The database is best thought of as a cache that you never need to invalidate: Information may be lost when you upgrade a Hypothesis version or change your test, so you shouldn’t rely on it for correctness - if there’s an example you want to ensure occurs each time then there’s a feature for including them in your source code - but it helps the development workflow considerably by making sure that the examples you’ve just found are reproduced.

The database also records examples that exercise less-used parts of your code, so the database may update even when no failing examples were found.

File locations

The default storage format is as a fairly opaque directory structure. Each test corresponds to a directory, and each example to a file within that directory. The standard location for it is .hypothesis/examples in your current working directory. You can override this by setting the database setting.

If you have not configured a database and the default location is unusable (e.g. because you do not have read/write permission), Hypothesis will issue a warning and then fall back to an in-memory database.

Upgrading Hypothesis and changing your tests

The design of the Hypothesis database is such that you can put arbitrary data in the database and not get wrong behaviour. When you upgrade Hypothesis, old data might be invalidated, but this should happen transparently. It can never be the case that e.g. changing the strategy that generates an argument gives you data from the old strategy.

Sharing your example database


If specific examples are important for correctness you should use the @example decorator, as the example database may discard entries due to changes in your code or dependencies. For most users, we therefore recommend using the example database locally and possibly persisting it between CI builds, but not tracking it under version control.

The examples database can be shared simply by checking the directory into version control, for example with the following .gitignore:

# Ignore files cached by Hypothesis...
# except for the examples directory

Like everything under .hypothesis/, the examples directory will be transparently created on demand. Unlike the other subdirectories, examples/ is designed to handle merges, deletes, etc if you just add the directory into git, mercurial, or any similar version control system.