pytest cannot import module while python can

asked7 years ago
last updated7 years ago
viewed272.6k times
Up Vote271Down Vote

I am working on a package in Python. I use virtualenv. I set the path to the root of the module in a .pth path in my virtualenv, so that I can import modules of the package while developing the code and do testing (Question 1: is it a good way to do?). This works fine (here is an example, this is the behavior I want):

(VEnvTestRc) zz@zz:~/Desktop/GitFolders/rc$ python
Python 2.7.12 (default, Jul  1 2016, 15:12:24) 
[GCC 5.4.0 20160609] on linux2
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> from rc import ns
>>> exit()
(VEnvTestRc) zz@zz:~/Desktop/GitFolders/rc$ python tests/ 
issued command: echo hello
command output: hello

However, if I try to use PyTest, I get some import error messages:

(VEnvTestRc) zz@zz:~/Desktop/GitFolders/rc$ pytest
=========================================== test session starts ============================================
platform linux2 -- Python 2.7.12, pytest-3.0.5, py-1.4.31, pluggy-0.4.0
rootdir: /home/zz/Desktop/GitFolders/rc, inifile: 
collected 0 items / 1 errors 

================================================== ERRORS ==================================================
________________________________ ERROR collecting tests/ ________________________________
ImportError while importing test module '/home/zz/Desktop/GitFolders/rc/tests/'.
Hint: make sure your test modules/packages have valid Python names.
tests/ in <module>
    from rc import ns
E   ImportError: cannot import name ns
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Interrupted: 1 errors during collection !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
========================================= 1 error in 0.09 seconds ==========================================
(VEnvTestRc) zz@zz:~/Desktop/GitFolders/rc$ which pytest

I am a bit puzzled, it looks like this indicates an import error, but Python does it fine so why is there a problem specifically with PyTest? Any suggestion to the reason / remedy (Question 2)? I googled and stack-overflowed the 'ImportError: cannot import' error for PyTest, but the hits I got were related to missing python path and remedy to this, which does not seem to be the problem here. Any suggestions?

12 Answers

Up Vote9Down Vote

Found the answer:

DO NOT put a file in a folder containing TESTS if you plan on using pytest. I had one such file, deleting it solved the problem.

This was actually buried in the comments to the second answer of PATH issue with pytest 'ImportError: No module named YadaYadaYada' so I did not see it, hope it gets more visibility here.

Up Vote8Down Vote
Grade: B
  • Make sure your file is in the tests directory and that the tests directory is at the same level as the rc directory.
  • If you are using a virtual environment, make sure that the virtual environment is activated when you run pytest.
  • Try running pytest from the root directory of your project.
  • Ensure that the rc package is properly installed in your virtual environment. You can use pip install -e . to install the package in editable mode.
  • If you are using a custom .pth file, verify that it is correctly configured and that it is being read by PyTest.
  • Check your sys.path in both Python and PyTest to see if the correct paths are being added.
  • Consider using pytest-cov to get more detailed information about your imports and coverage.
Up Vote8Down Vote
Grade: B

Question 1

Using a .pth file to add the root of your package to your virtualenv's path is a common practice for development and testing. It allows you to import modules from your package without having to install it.

Question 2

The problem you are experiencing is likely due to a difference in how Python and PyTest handle module imports.

  • Python: When you import a module using the import statement, Python will search for the module in the directories listed in the PYTHONPATH environment variable. The .pth file you created effectively adds the root of your package to the PYTHONPATH.
  • PyTest: PyTest uses a different mechanism for discovering and importing test modules. It searches for test modules in the directory where the test script is located and in any subdirectories. It does not automatically add the directories listed in the PYTHONPATH to its search path.

To fix the problem, you need to add the root of your package to PyTest's search path. You can do this by using the --path command-line option. For example:

pytest --path=/home/zz/Desktop/GitFolders/rc tests/

This command will tell PyTest to search for test modules in the /home/zz/Desktop/GitFolders/rc directory.

Alternatively, you can add the root of your package to PyTest's search path by creating a pytest.ini file in your project directory. The pytest.ini file can contain the following lines:

addopts = --path=/home/zz/Desktop/GitFolders/rc

This will have the same effect as using the --path command-line option.

Up Vote8Down Vote
Grade: B

Found the answer:

DO NOT put a file in a folder containing TESTS if you plan on using pytest. I had one such file, deleting it solved the problem.

This was actually buried in the comments to the second answer of PATH issue with pytest 'ImportError: No module named YadaYadaYada' so I did not see it, hope it gets more visibility here.

Up Vote7Down Vote
Grade: B

The error you're encountering while running pytest is due to PyTest trying to import a module named 'ns'. However, in Python 2.x, the import * syntax is not supported. It will only look for modules that exist at the top level of your package instead of within subpackages. Therefore, you should specify each module or attribute you want to import explicitly in pytest.

In order to resolve this issue and run PyTest without any errors, you can:

  1. Specify the module/attribute to be imported by itself:
    from rc import ns
  2. Instead of import *, use an explicit statement for each required attribute:
    from rc.ns import Module1Class, function1
  3. This way you're making clear PyTest where to look for modules and attributes.

If these solutions still don't work, consider renaming your test file (from to something more suitable like or revise the structure of the package if possible. This should resolve import issues with PyTest in future runs.

Up Vote7Down Vote
Grade: B

Question 1: Is it a good way to do?

While using a .pth path for package imports is a valid technique for local development and testing, it's not the recommended approach for production-ready code for several reasons:

  • It can lead to name clashes if multiple packages have the same name in different directories, which can easily occur during development and cause unexpected errors.
  • It can lead to difficulty managing dependencies, especially when multiple packages need to be imported, as it requires manually updating the paths in the .pth file as you develop and refactor your project.
  • It can lead to issues when deploying the package, as it's not readily available for users who don't have the same virtual environment activated.

Question 2: Suggestions for remedy:

  • Use relative paths or absolute paths within your package directory for module imports. This ensures the imports are always relative to the package directory, regardless of the activated virtual environment, and eliminates name clashes.
  • Use a package manager like pip or poetry to install and manage dependencies. These tools allow you to specify version constraints, install dependencies in a virtual environment, and manage imports and dependencies in a central location.
  • Document your package structure, including the locations of modules and how they are imported, to make the codebase easier to understand and maintain.
  • Use a linter like pylint to check your code for potential issues related to imports and other coding practices.
  • If you do need to use a .pth path, make sure it's clear and consistent and doesn't contain any errors or inconsistencies.
  • If you're using pytest, you can configure it to automatically find and use installed packages using the add_ini_files function. This eliminates the need to manually set paths and allows pytest to run tests without issues.
Up Vote7Down Vote
Grade: B


Question 1:

The method of setting the path to the root of the module in a .pth file in virtualenv is a valid way to import modules from your package during development. This method is commonly used in Python projects and is widely accepted.

Question 2:

The import error message you're seeing with PyTest is likely due to the way PyTest searches for test modules. By default, PyTest looks for test modules in the same directory as the pytest command. However, when you have a virtualenv, the test modules are usually located inside the virtualenv environment.

To remedy this issue, you have two options:

1. Adjust the PYTHONPATH environment variable:

(VEnvTestRc) zz@zz:~/Desktop/GitFolders/rc$ export PYTHONPATH=/home/zz/Desktop/GitFolders/rc/venv/bin/activate:/home/zz/Desktop/GitFolders/rc/tests
(VEnvTestRc) zz@zz:~/Desktop/GitFolders/rc$ pytest

2. Use the --RTS option with PyTest:

(VEnvTestRc) zz@zz:~/Desktop/GitFolders/rc$ pytest --RTS /home/zz/Desktop/GitFolders/rc/tests/


  • The PYTHONPATH environment variable specifies a colon-separated list of directories to search for Python modules. By adding the virtualenv bin directory and the tests directory to this variable, PyTest will be able to find your test module.
  • The --RTS option of PyTest allows you to specify the full path to the test module. This is useful if your test module is located in a non-standard location.

Additional Tips:

  • Ensure that your tests directory is located in the root directory of your package.
  • Make sure that your virtualenv environment is activated before running PyTest.
  • If you encounter any further issues, consider checking the PyTest documentation for more information and troubleshooting tips.
Up Vote7Down Vote
Grade: B

It seems that PyTest is not recognizing the modifications you have made to your Python environment within the virtualenv. PyTest has its own way of discovering tests and setting up the test environment.

The best practice for testing with PyTest in a virtualenv is to use pip to install your packages including PyTest itself. This way, PyTest will be able to automatically discover your tests and import them correctly. Here's how you can set it up:

  1. Activate your virtualenv using the script or command that sets up your environment (usually a file named bin/activate in your VirtualEnvs/VEnvTestRc folder).

  2. Install PyTest using pip, by running pip install pytest.

  3. Write your tests in a tests directory with a naming convention that PyTest recognizes (typically test_[module_name].py), and make sure the tests import your modules correctly relative to their location within the tested package.

  4. Run tests using PyTest by running pytest. This should work without any import issues since PyTest handles the test discovery and imports for you when you use it with virtualenv and pip.

By following this approach, you will avoid any confusion about path setup and be sure that your tests are correctly discoverable and runnable with PyTest.

Up Vote7Down Vote
Grade: B

Question 1: Yes, it is a common approach to modify the Python path in a .pth file while developing a Python package. It allows you to import modules from your package's root directory without having to install it or use a complex directory structure.

Question 2: It seems that Pytest is not able to find the module 'rc' even though it is available in Python's path. This may be due to Pytest using a different path or environment than the standard Python interpreter.

One possible solution is to modify the Python path in Pytest's configuration file. You can create a new file called pytest.ini in the root directory of your project and add the following line:

addopts = --import-mode=importlib

This will tell Pytest to use the importlib module to import modules, which should respect the .pth file in your virtualenv.

Alternatively, you can modify the sys.path variable inside your test files to include the path to the root directory of your project. Here is an example:

import os
import sys
sys.path.insert(0, os.path.abspath(os.path.join(os.path.dirname(__file__), '..')))

import rc

This will insert the path to the parent directory of your test file (which should be the root directory of your project) into the Python path. This will allow you to import the 'rc' module from your test files.

Note that these solutions may not be ideal for all use cases, and you may need to modify them based on your specific needs. However, they should provide a good starting point for solving the import error you encountered.

Up Vote4Down Vote
Grade: C
  1. You can import modules from virtualenv while working on them because the virtual environment includes all the libraries and dependencies required to run the module in its path. The module is created, and you can test it using Python without any issues. However, this behavior differs with pytest, which cannot find and import the module.

  2. There may be two possible causes for this error:

  • Lack of a proper configuration file
  • Lacking python modules or dependencies in the virtualenv that is used to execute the tests

Try to make sure you are using an accurate configuration file when running pytest, and check if there are any missing Python modules or dependencies within your virtualenv.

Up Vote3Down Vote
Grade: C

There seem to be a lot of issues here, I'm afraid I'll need more context about what you're working on in order to help out! Are you trying to install something like pytest-cov to run tests with coverage information? That can be a reason for an "import error" if it doesn't work properly (or the package is installed incorrectly).

To check the root of your virtualenv, I would suggest looking into tools that can show you there. You might also want to take a look at the list of python modules that PyTest has access to, and see whether or not those modules are actually installed on the machine. If they aren't, then you'll need to install them before continuing.

Up Vote3Down Vote
Grade: C

This error occurs because of two reasons. Firstly, there's no way to know exactly what path the user has in their PYTHONPATH variable. Secondly, PyTest uses a different approach to managing test dependencies than does Python itself. As such, it is not possible to use PyTest and still have your tests import correctly from your other modules.