alex gaynor's blago-blog

Why Travis CI is great for the Python community

Posted January 6th, 2014.

In the unlikely event you're both reading my blog, and have not heard of Travis CI, it's a CI service which specifically targets open source projects. It integrates nicely with Github, and is generally a pleasure to work with.

I think it's particularly valuable for the Python community, because it makes it easy to test against a variety of Pythons, which maybe you don't have at your fingertips on your own machine, such as Python 3 or PyPy (Editor's note: Why aren't you using PyPy for all the things?).

Travis makes this drop dead simple, in your .travis.yml simply write:

language: python
python:
    - "2.6"
    - "2.7"
    - "3.2"
    - "3.3"
    - "pypy"

And you'll be whisked away into a land of magical cross-Python testing. Or, if like me you're a fan of tox, you can easily run with that:

python: 2.7
env:
    - TOX_ENV=py26
    - TOX_ENV=py27
    - TOX_ENV=py32
    - TOX_ENV=py33
    - TOX_ENV=pypy
    - TOX_ENV=docs
    - TOX_ENV=pep8

script:
    - tox -e $TOX_ENV

This approach makes it easy to include things like linting or checking your docs as well.

Travis is also pretty great because it offers you a workflow. I'm a big fan of code review, and the combination of Travis and Github's pull requests are awesome. For basically every project I work on now, I work in this fashion:

  • Create a branch, write some code, push.
  • Send a pull request.
  • Iteratively code review
  • Check for travis results
  • Merge

And it's fantastic.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Travis CI consistently gets better, without me doing anything.

This entry was tagged with python, open-source.
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