The `doctest` module searches for pieces of text that look like
interactive Python sessions, and then executes those sessions to
verify that they work exactly as shown. There are several common ways to
use doctest:

- To check that a module's docstrings are up-to-date by verifying that all interactive examples still work as documented.
- To perform regression testing by verifying that interactive examples from a test file or a test object work as expected.
- To write tutorial documentation for a package, liberally illustrated with input-output examples. Depending on whether the examples or the expository text are emphasized, this has the flavor of "literate testing" or "executable documentation".

Here's a complete but small example module:

""" This is the "example" module. The example module supplies one function, factorial(). For example, >>> factorial(5) 120 """ def factorial(n): """Return the factorial of n, an exact integer >= 0. If the result is small enough to fit in an int, return an int. Else return a long. >>> [factorial(n) for n in range(6)] [1, 1, 2, 6, 24, 120] >>> [factorial(long(n)) for n in range(6)] [1, 1, 2, 6, 24, 120] >>> factorial(30) 265252859812191058636308480000000L >>> factorial(30L) 265252859812191058636308480000000L >>> factorial(-1) Traceback (most recent call last): ... ValueError: n must be >= 0 Factorials of floats are OK, but the float must be an exact integer: >>> factorial(30.1) Traceback (most recent call last): ... ValueError: n must be exact integer >>> factorial(30.0) 265252859812191058636308480000000L It must also not be ridiculously large: >>> factorial(1e100) Traceback (most recent call last): ... OverflowError: n too large """

import math if not n >= 0: raise ValueError("n must be >= 0") if math.floor(n) != n: raise ValueError("n must be exact integer") if n+1 == n: # catch a value like 1e300 raise OverflowError("n too large") result = 1 factor = 2 while factor <= n: result *= factor factor += 1 return result def _test(): import doctest doctest.testmod() if __name__ == "__main__": _test()

If you run example.py directly from the command line,
`doctest` works its magic:

$ python example.py $

There's no output! That's normal, and it means all the examples
worked. Pass **-v** to the script, and `doctest`
prints a detailed log of what it's trying, and prints a summary at the
end:

$ python example.py -v Trying: factorial(5) Expecting: 120 ok Trying: [factorial(n) for n in range(6)] Expecting: [1, 1, 2, 6, 24, 120] ok Trying: [factorial(long(n)) for n in range(6)] Expecting: [1, 1, 2, 6, 24, 120] ok

And so on, eventually ending with:

Trying: factorial(1e100) Expecting: Traceback (most recent call last): ... OverflowError: n too large ok 1 items had no tests: __main__._test 2 items passed all tests: 1 tests in __main__ 8 tests in __main__.factorial 9 tests in 3 items. 9 passed and 0 failed. Test passed. $

That's all you need to know to start making productive use of
`doctest`! Jump in. The following sections provide full
details. Note that there are many examples of doctests in
the standard Python test suite and libraries. Especially useful examples
can be found in the standard test file Lib/test/test_doctest.py.

See