Running Tests

The novelWriter source code is well covered by tests. The test framework used for the development is pytest with the use of an extension for Qt.


The dependencies for running the tests can be installed with:

pip install -r requirements-dev.txt

This will install a couple of extra packages for coverage and test management. The minimum requirement is just pytest and pytest-qt.

Simple Test Run

To run the tests, you simply need to execute the following from the root of the source folder:


Since several of the tests involve opening up the novelWriter GUI, you may want to disable the GUI for the duration of the test run. Moving your mouse while the tests are running may otherwise interfere with the execution of some tests.

You can disable the renderring of the GUI by setting the flag export QT_QPA_PLATFORM=offscreen, or alternatively run the tests with the xvfb package, like so:

xvfb-run pytest

Advanced Options

Adding the flag -v to the pytest command will increase verbosity of the test execution.

You can also add coverage report generation. For instance to HTML:

xvfb-run pytest -v --cov=novelwriter --cov-report=html

Other useful report formats are xml, and term for terminal output.

You can also run tests per subpackage of novelWriter with the -m command. The available subpackage groups are base, core, and gui. Consider for instance:

xvfb-run pytest -v --cov=novelwriter --cov-report=html -m core

This will only run the tests of the “core” package, that is, all the classes that deal with the project data of a novelWriter project. The “gui” tests, likewise, will run the tests for the GUI components, and the “base” tests cover the bits in-between.

You can also filter the tests with the -k switch. The following will do the same as -m core:

xvfb-run pytest -v --cov=novelwriter --cov-report=html -k testCore

All tests are named in such a way that you can filter them by adding more bits of the test names. They all start with the word “test”. Then comes the group: “Core”, “Base”, “Dlg”, “Tool”, or “Gui”. Finally comes the name of the class or module, which generally corresponds to a single source code file. For instance, running the following will run all tests for the document editor:

xvfb-run pytest -v --cov=novelwriter --cov-report=html -k testGuiEditor

To run a single test, simply add the full test name to the -k switch.