Travis, You Are Awesome

I came across Travis CI this week, and it’s awesome.

I’ve got a bunch of tests for django-magazine, but I’m not very good at running them. It turns out that unit tests aren’t very useful if you don’t run them, so I wanted to make sure that every time I pushed code to it, the tests run. Enter Travis CI.

Easy Unit Testing for Reusable Apps

django-magazine is a reusable app – that is, it doesn’t ship with settings files, so you can’t run its tests just after installing it1.

I wasn’t sure what the easiest way to handle this was, so I looked around for Django reusable apps that were already using Travis, and stumbled across django-forms-builder. They’d solved this by adding an example_project folder, which had a simple settings file, a urls file and a manage.py2.

That allows me to run the tests without any extra set-up, though I still haven’t worked out how to allow people who’ve just installed from pip3 to run the tests right out of the box.


There are just two things you need to do to get Travis CI working for your project.

Firstly – sign in on their website. There’s a slightly scary message about giving it write access to your repositories, but there’s a decent enough reason on the Travis site explaining why they need it4.

Secondly – add a .travis.yml file to your root directory, commit, and push to GitHub. Travis CI will pick up your change, and start building. My file currently looks like this:

language: python
  - "2.6"
  - "2.7"
  - DJANGO=1.3.1
  - DJANGO=1.4
  - pip install -q Django==$DJANGO --use-mirrors
  - pip install -r requirements.txt --use-mirrors
  - pip install pep8
  - pep8 --exclude=migrations magazine
  - ./magazine/example_project/ test magazine

This will kick off four builds:

  1. Python 2.6 and Django 1.3.1;
  2. Python 2.6 and Django 1.4;
  3. Python 2.7 and Django 1.3.1;
  4. Python 2.7 and Django 1.4.

Each of those will run in parallel, and you’ll then get an e-mail with the status of your build, if it changed (pleasingly, it doesn’t e-mail you for every build – only if the status of it has switched between fixed and broken). Go take a look at an example build result.

The --use-mirrors stuff is an attempt to help Travis CI avoid overloading PyPI.

Bonus Points: PEP 8

I’ve recently discovered PEP 8, which I half knew about, but I’d never attempted to make my code meet it. Then someone forked django-magazine to make it meet PEP 8, and I was shamed into fixing it. I’ve added a line to my .travis.yml file so the build fails if checked-in code is not PEP 8 friendly.

Advertise Your Status

Travis CI even provides an image that’ll show your current build status – adding it to my file allows me to advertise that (and implicitly, that I’m a bit obsessive) using:

Currently, that looks like: Build Status

All this is to say, Travis CI is awesome, and you should use it.

  1.  This is probably a good time to point out that django-magazine is not available on PyPI yet. I’ve never added anything to PyPI before, and there’s a couple of things I’d like to sort out before doing that. Firstly I’d like to make sure I’ve tagged things properly, and secondly I need to factor out the book review stuff which is currently not tested, and is very specific to my particular use case.
  2.  They all had a templates folder, with a base template, which django-magazine doesn’t need. That might be because I’ve done something wrong (every template extends magazine/magazine_base.html, which doesn’t have much in the way of HTML, but enough that all the tests pass — one of these days I should probably give it some simple styles).
  3. As opposed to git clone, which is what Travis CI does, which means that the example_project code is in a predictable location (also, I’ve not yet added example_project to my manifest file, so it’s not installed by pip).
  4.  “Travis CI needs write access for setting up service hooks for your repositories when you request it, but it won’t touch anything else.”Getting Started – Travis CI DocumentationI’d love there to be a workaround for this, but Travis is awesome enough that I mostly just don’t care.

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.