Details and advanced features

This is an account of slightly less common Hypothesis features that you don’t need to get started but will nevertheless make your life easier.

Additional test output

Normally the output of a failing test will look something like:

Falsifying example: test_a_thing(x=1, y="foo")

With the repr of each keyword argument being printed.

Sometimes this isn’t enough, either because you have values with a repr that isn’t very descriptive or because you need to see the output of some intermediate steps of your test. That’s where the note function comes in:

>>> from hypothesis import given, note, strategies as st
>>> @given(st.lists(st.integers()), st.randoms())
... def test_shuffle_is_noop(ls, r):
...     ls2 = list(ls)
...     r.shuffle(ls2)
...     note("Shuffle: %r" % (ls2))
...     assert ls == ls2
>>> try:
...     test_shuffle_is_noop()
... except AssertionError:
...     print('ls != ls2')
Falsifying example: test_shuffle_is_noop(ls=[0, 1], r=RandomWithSeed(53))
Shuffle: [1, 0]
ls != ls2

The note is printed in the final run of the test in order to include any additional information you might need in your test.

Test Statistics

If you are using py.test you can see a number of statistics about the executed tests by passing the command line argument --hypothesis-show-statistics. This will include some general statistics about the test:

For example if you ran the following with --hypothesis-show-statistics:

from hypothesis import given, strategies as st

def test_integers(i):

You would see:


  - 100 passing examples, 0 failing examples, 0 invalid examples
  - Typical runtimes: ~ 1ms
  - Fraction of time spent in data generation: ~ 12%
  - Stopped because settings.max_examples=100

The final “Stopped because” line is particularly important to note: It tells you the setting value that determined when the test should stop trying new examples. This can be useful for understanding the behaviour of your tests. Ideally you’d always want this to be max_examples.

In some cases (such as filtered and recursive strategies) you will see events mentioned which describe some aspect of the data generation:

from hypothesis import given, strategies as st

@given(st.integers().filter(lambda x: x % 2 == 0))
def test_even_integers(i):

You would see something like:


    - 100 passing examples, 0 failing examples, 36 invalid examples
    - Typical runtimes: 0-1 ms
    - Fraction of time spent in data generation: ~ 16%
    - Stopped because settings.max_examples=100
    - Events:
      * 80.88%, Retried draw from integers().filter(lambda x: <unknown>) to satisfy filter
      * 26.47%, Aborted test because unable to satisfy integers().filter(lambda x: <unknown>)

You can also mark custom events in a test using the event function:


Record an event that occurred this test. Statistics on number of test runs with each event will be reported at the end if you run Hypothesis in statistics reporting mode.

Events should be strings or convertible to them.

from hypothesis import given, event, strategies as st

@given(st.integers().filter(lambda x: x % 2 == 0))
def test_even_integers(i):
    event("i mod 3 = %d" % (i % 3,))

You will then see output like:


  - 100 passing examples, 0 failing examples, 38 invalid examples
  - Typical runtimes: 0-1 ms
  - Fraction of time spent in data generation: ~ 16%
  - Stopped because settings.max_examples=100
  - Events:
    * 80.43%, Retried draw from integers().filter(lambda x: <unknown>) to satisfy filter
    * 31.88%, i mod 3 = 0
    * 27.54%, Aborted test because unable to satisfy integers().filter(lambda x: <unknown>)
    * 21.74%, i mod 3 = 1
    * 18.84%, i mod 3 = 2

Arguments to event can be any hashable type, but two events will be considered the same if they are the same when converted to a string with str.

Making assumptions

Sometimes Hypothesis doesn’t give you exactly the right sort of data you want - it’s mostly of the right shape, but some examples won’t work and you don’t want to care about them. You can just ignore these by aborting the test early, but this runs the risk of accidentally testing a lot less than you think you are. Also it would be nice to spend less time on bad examples - if you’re running 200 examples per test (the default) and it turns out 150 of those examples don’t match your needs, that’s a lot of wasted time.


assume() is like an assert that marks the example as bad, rather than failing the test.

This allows you to specify properties that you assume will be true, and let Hypothesis try to avoid similar examples in future.

For example suppose you had the following test:

def test_negation_is_self_inverse(x):
    assert x == -(-x)

Running this gives us:

Falsifying example: test_negation_is_self_inverse(x=float('nan'))

This is annoying. We know about NaN and don’t really care about it, but as soon as Hypothesis finds a NaN example it will get distracted by that and tell us about it. Also the test will fail and we want it to pass.

So lets block off this particular example:

from math import isnan

def test_negation_is_self_inverse_for_non_nan(x):
    assume(not isnan(x))
    assert x == -(-x)

And this passes without a problem.

In order to avoid the easy trap where you assume a lot more than you intended, Hypothesis will fail a test when it can’t find enough examples passing the assumption.

If we’d written:

def test_negation_is_self_inverse_for_non_nan(x):
    assert x == -(-x)

Then on running we’d have got the exception:

Unsatisfiable: Unable to satisfy assumptions of hypothesis test_negation_is_self_inverse_for_non_nan. Only 0 examples considered satisfied assumptions

How good is assume?

Hypothesis has an adaptive exploration strategy to try to avoid things which falsify assumptions, which should generally result in it still being able to find examples in hard to find situations.

Suppose we had the following:

def test_sum_is_positive(xs):
  assert sum(xs) > 0

Unsurprisingly this fails and gives the falsifying example [].

Adding assume(xs) to this removes the trivial empty example and gives us [0].

Adding assume(all(x > 0 for x in xs)) and it passes: the sum of a list of positive integers is positive.

The reason that this should be surprising is not that it doesn’t find a counter-example, but that it finds enough examples at all.

In order to make sure something interesting is happening, suppose we wanted to try this for long lists. e.g. suppose we added an assume(len(xs) > 10) to it. This should basically never find an example: a naive strategy would find fewer than one in a thousand examples, because if each element of the list is negative with probability one-half, you’d have to have ten of these go the right way by chance. In the default configuration Hypothesis gives up long before it’s tried 1000 examples (by default it tries 200).

Here’s what happens if we try to run this:

def test_sum_is_positive(xs):
    assume(len(xs) > 10)
    assume(all(x > 0 for x in xs))
    assert sum(xs) > 0

In: test_sum_is_positive()
[17, 12, 7, 13, 11, 3, 6, 9, 8, 11, 47, 27, 1, 31, 1]
[6, 2, 29, 30, 25, 34, 19, 15, 50, 16, 10, 3, 16]
[25, 17, 9, 19, 15, 2, 2, 4, 22, 10, 10, 27, 3, 1, 14, 17, 13, 8, 16, 9, 2...
[17, 65, 78, 1, 8, 29, 2, 79, 28, 18, 39]
[13, 26, 8, 3, 4, 76, 6, 14, 20, 27, 21, 32, 14, 42, 9, 24, 33, 9, 5, 15, ...
[2, 1, 2, 2, 3, 10, 12, 11, 21, 11, 1, 16]

As you can see, Hypothesis doesn’t find many examples here, but it finds some - enough to keep it happy.

In general if you can shape your strategies better to your tests you should - for example integers(1, 1000) is a lot better than assume(1 <= x <= 1000), but assume will take you a long way if you can’t.

Defining strategies

The type of object that is used to explore the examples given to your test function is called a SearchStrategy. These are created using the functions exposed in the hypothesis.strategies module.

Many of these strategies expose a variety of arguments you can use to customize generation. For example for integers you can specify min and max values of integers you want. If you want to see exactly what a strategy produces you can ask for an example:

>>> integers(min_value=0, max_value=10).example()

Many strategies are built out of other strategies. For example, if you want to define a tuple you need to say what goes in each element:

>>> from hypothesis.strategies import tuples
>>> tuples(integers(), integers()).example()
(-24597, 12566)

Further details are available in a separate document.

The gory details of given parameters

hypothesis.given(*given_arguments, **given_kwargs)[source]

A decorator for turning a test function that accepts arguments into a randomized test.

This is the main entry point to Hypothesis.

The @given decorator may be used to specify which arguments of a function should be parametrized over. You can use either positional or keyword arguments or a mixture of the two.

For example all of the following are valid uses:

@given(integers(), integers())
def a(x, y):

def b(x, y):

def c(x, y):

def d(x, y):

@given(x=integers(), y=integers())
def e(x, **kwargs):

@given(x=integers(), y=integers())
def f(x, *args, **kwargs):

class SomeTest(TestCase):
    def test_a_thing(self, x):

The following are not:

@given(integers(), integers(), integers())
def g(x, y):

def h(x, *args):

@given(integers(), x=integers())
def i(x, y):

def j(x, y):

The rules for determining what are valid uses of given are as follows:

  1. You may pass any keyword argument to given.
  2. Positional arguments to given are equivalent to the rightmost named arguments for the test function.
  3. Positional arguments may not be used if the underlying test function has varargs, arbitrary keywords, or keyword-only arguments.
  4. Functions tested with given may not have any defaults.

The reason for the “rightmost named arguments” behaviour is so that using @given with instance methods works: self will be passed to the function as normal and not be parametrized over.

The function returned by given has all the same arguments as the original test, minus those that are filled in by given.

Custom function execution

Hypothesis provides you with a hook that lets you control how it runs examples.

This lets you do things like set up and tear down around each example, run examples in a subprocess, transform coroutine tests into normal tests, etc.

The way this works is by introducing the concept of an executor. An executor is essentially a function that takes a block of code and run it. The default executor is:

def default_executor(function):
    return function()

You define executors by defining a method execute_example on a class. Any test methods on that class with @given used on them will use self.execute_example as an executor with which to run tests. For example, the following executor runs all its code twice:

from unittest import TestCase

class TestTryReallyHard(TestCase):
    def test_something(self, i):

    def execute_example(self, f):
        return f()

Note: The functions you use in map, etc. will run inside the executor. i.e. they will not be called until you invoke the function passed to execute_example.

An executor must be able to handle being passed a function which returns None, otherwise it won’t be able to run normal test cases. So for example the following executor is invalid:

from unittest import TestCase

class TestRunTwice(TestCase):
    def execute_example(self, f):
        return f()()

and should be rewritten as:

from unittest import TestCase
import inspect

class TestRunTwice(TestCase):
    def execute_example(self, f):
        result = f()
        if inspect.isfunction(result):
            result = result()
        return result

Using Hypothesis to find values

You can use Hypothesis’s data exploration features to find values satisfying some predicate. This is generally useful for exploring custom strategies defined with @composite, or experimenting with conditions for filtering data.

hypothesis.find(specifier, condition, settings=None, random=None, database_key=None)[source]

Returns the minimal example from the given strategy specifier that matches the predicate function condition.

>>> from hypothesis import find
>>> from hypothesis.strategies import sets, lists, integers
>>> find(lists(integers()), lambda x: sum(x) >= 10)
>>> find(lists(integers()), lambda x: sum(x) >= 10 and len(x) >= 3)
[0, 0, 10]
>>> find(sets(integers()), lambda x: sum(x) >= 10 and len(x) >= 3)
{0, 1, 9}

The first argument to find() describes data in the usual way for an argument to given(), and supports all the same data types. The second is a predicate it must satisfy.

Of course not all conditions are satisfiable. If you ask Hypothesis for an example to a condition that is always false it will raise an error:

>>> find(integers(), lambda x: False)
Traceback (most recent call last):
hypothesis.errors.NoSuchExample: No examples of condition lambda x: <unknown>

(The lambda x: unknown is because Hypothesis can’t retrieve the source code of lambdas from the interactive python console. It gives a better error message most of the time which contains the actual condition)

Inferred Strategies

In some cases, Hypothesis can work out what to do when you omit arguments. This is based on introspection, not magic, and therefore has well-defined limits.

builds() will check the signature of the target (using getfullargspec()). If there are required arguments with type annotations and no strategy was passed to builds(), from_type() is used to fill them in. You can also pass the special value hypothesis.infer as a keyword argument, to force this inference for arguments with a default value.

>>> def func(a: int, b: str):
...     return [a, b]
>>> builds(func).example()
[-6993, '']

@given does not perform any implicit inference for required arguments, as this would break compatibility with pytest fixtures. infer can be used as a keyword argument to explicitly fill in an argument from its type annotation.

def test(a: int): pass
# is equivalent to
def test(a): pass


PEP 3107 type annotations are not supported on Python 2, and Hypothesis does not inspect PEP 484 type comments at runtime. While from_type() will work as usual, inference in builds() and @given will only work if you manually create the __annotations__ attribute (e.g. by using @annotations(...) and @returns(...) decorators). The typing module is fully supported on Python 2 if you have the backport installed.

The typing module is provisional and has a number of internal changes between Python 3.5.0 and 3.6.1, including at minor versions. These are all supported on a best-effort basis, but you may encounter problems with an old version of the module. Please report them to us, and consider updating to a newer version of Python as a workaround.