1. Ned Batchelder
  2. coverage.py


coverage.py / doc / changes.rst

Major change history for coverage.py

history:20090524T134300, brand new docs.
history:20090613T164000, final touches for 3.0
history:20090706T205000, changes for 3.0.1
history:20091004T170700, changes for 3.1
history:20091128T072200, changes for 3.2
history:20091205T161525, 3.2 final
history:20100221T151900, changes for 3.3
history:20100306T181400, changes for 3.3.1
history:20100725T211700, updated for 3.4.
history:20100820T151500, updated for 3.4b1
history:20100906T133800, updated for 3.4b2
history:20100919T163400, updated for 3.4 release.
history:20110604T214100, updated for 3.5b1
history:20110629T082200, updated for 3.5
history:20110923T081600, updated for 3.5.1
history:20120429T162100, updated for 3.5.2b1
history:20120503T233700, updated for 3.5.2
history:20120929T093100, updated for 3.5.3
history:20121129T060100, updated for 3.6b1.
history:20121223T180600, updated for 3.6b2.
history:20130105T173500, updated for 3.6

These are the major changes for coverage.py. For a more complete change history, see the CHANGES.txt file in the source tree.

Version 3.6 --- 5 January 2013


  • The report, html, and xml commands now accept a --fail-under switch that indicates in the exit status whether the coverage percentage was less than a particular value. Closes issue 139.
  • The reporting functions coverage.report(), coverage.html_report(), and coverage.xml_report() now all return a float, the total percentage covered measurement.
  • The HTML report's title can now be set in the configuration file, with the --title switch on the command line, or via the API.
  • Configuration files now support substitution of environment variables, using syntax like ${WORD}. Closes issue 97.


  • The C extension is optionally compiled using a different more widely-used technique, taking another stab at fixing issue 80 once and for all.
  • When installing, now in addition to creating a "coverage" command, two new aliases are also installed. A "coverage2" or "coverage3" command will be created, depending on whether you are installing in Python 2.x or 3.x. A "coverage-X.Y" command will also be created corresponding to your specific version of Python. Closes issue 111.
  • The coverage.py installer no longer tries to bootstrap setuptools or Distribute. You must have one of them installed first, as issue 202 recommended.
  • The coverage.py kit now includes docs (closing issue 137) and tests.



  • Wildcards in include= and omit= arguments were not handled properly in reporting functions, though they were when running. Now they are handled uniformly, closing issue 143 and issue 163. NOTE: it is possible that your configurations may now be incorrect. If you use include or omit during reporting, whether on the command line, through the API, or in a configuration file, please check carefully that you were not relying on the old broken behavior.
  • Embarrassingly, the [xml] output= setting in the .coveragerc file simply didn't work. Now it does.
  • Combining data files would create entries for phantom files if used with source and path aliases. It no longer does.
  • debug sys now shows the configuration file path that was read.
  • If an oddly-behaved package claims that code came from an empty-string filename, coverage.py no longer associates it with the directory name, fixing issue 221.
  • The XML report now consistently uses filenames for the filename attribute, rather than sometimes using module names. Fixes issue 67. Thanks, Marcus Cobden.
  • Coverage percentage metrics are now computed slightly differently under branch coverage. This means that completely unexecuted files will now correctly have 0% coverage, fixing issue 156. This also means that your total coverage numbers will generally now be lower if you are measuring branch coverage.
  • On Windows, files are now reported in their correct case, fixing issue 89 and issue 203.
  • If a file is missing during reporting, the path shown in the error message is now correct, rather than an incorrect path in the current directory. Fixes issue 60.
  • Running an HTML report in Python 3 in the same directory as an old Python 2 HTML report would fail with a UnicodeDecodeError. This issue (issue 193) is now fixed.
  • Fixed yet another error trying to parse non-Python files as Python, this time an IndentationError, closing issue 82 for the fourth time...
  • If coverage xml fails because there is no data to report, it used to create a zero-length XML file. Now it doesn't, fixing issue 210.
  • Jython files now work with the --source option, fixing issue 100.
  • Running coverage under a debugger is unlikely to work, but it shouldn't fail with "TypeError: 'NoneType' object is not iterable". Fixes issue 201.
  • On some Linux distributions, when installed with the OS package manager, coverage.py would report its own code as part of the results. Now it won't, fixing issue 214, though this will take some time to be repackaged by the operating systems.
  • When coverage.py ended unsuccessfully, it may have reported odd errors like 'NoneType' object has no attribute 'isabs'. It no longer does, so kiss issue 153 goodbye.

Version 3.5.3 --- 29 September 2012

  • Line numbers in the HTML report line up better with the source lines, fixing issue 197, thanks Marius Gedminas.
  • When specifying a directory as the source= option, the directory itself no longer needs to have a __init__.py file, though its subdirectories do, to be considered as source files.
  • Files encoded as UTF-8 with a BOM are now properly handled, fixing issue 179. Thanks, Pablo Carballo.
  • Fixed more cases of non-Python files being reported as Python source, and then not being able to parse them as Python. Closes issue 82 (again). Thanks, Julian Berman.
  • Fixed memory leaks under Python 3, thanks, Brett Cannon. Closes issue 147.
  • Optimized .pyo files may not have been handled correctly, issue 195. Thanks, Marius Gedminas.
  • Certain unusually named file paths could have been mangled during reporting, issue 194. Thanks, Marius Gedminas.
  • Try to do a better job of the impossible task of detecting when we can't build the C extension, fixing issue 183.

Version 3.5.2 --- 4 May 2012

  • The HTML report has slightly tweaked controls: the buttons at the top of the page are color-coded to the source lines they affect.
  • Custom CSS can be applied to the HTML report by specifying a CSS file as the extra_css configuration value in the [html] section.
  • Source files with custom encodings declared in a comment at the top are now properly handled during reporting on Python 2. Python 3 always handled them properly. This fixes issue 157.
  • Backup files left behind by editors are no longer collected by the source= option, fixing issue 168.
  • If a file doesn't parse properly as Python, we don't report it as an error if the filename seems like maybe it wasn't meant to be Python. This is a pragmatic fix for issue 82.
  • The -m switch on coverage report, which includes missing line numbers in the summary report, can now be specifed as show_missing in the config file. Closes issue 173.
  • When running a module with coverage run -m <modulename>, certain details of the execution environment weren't the same as for python -m <modulename>. This had the unfortunate side-effect of making coverage run -m unittest discover not work if you had tests in a directory named "test". This fixes issue 155.
  • Now the exit status of your product code is properly used as the process status when running python -m coverage run .... Thanks, JT Olds.
  • When installing into pypy, we no longer attempt (and fail) to compile the C tracer function, closing issue 166.

Version 3.5.1 --- 23 September 2011

  • When combining data files from parallel runs, you can now instruct coverage about which directories are equivalent on different machines. A [paths] section in the configuration file lists paths that are to be considered equivalent. Finishes issue 17.
  • for-else constructs are understood better, and don't cause erroneous partial branch warnings. Fixes issue 122.
  • Branch coverage for with statements is improved, fixing issue 128.
  • The number of partial branches reported on the HTML summary page was different than the number reported on the individual file pages. This is now fixed.
  • An explicit include directive to measure files in the Python installation wouldn't work because of the standard library exclusion. Now the include directive takes precendence, and the files will be measured. Fixes issue 138.
  • The HTML report now handles Unicode characters in Python source files properly. This fixes issue 124 and issue 144. Thanks, Devin Jeanpierre.
  • In order to help the core developers measure the test coverage of the standard library, Brandon Rhodes devised an aggressive hack to trick Python into running some coverage code before anything else in the process. See the coverage/fullcoverage directory if you are interested.

Version 3.5 --- 29 June 2011

HTML reporting:

  • The HTML report now has hotkeys. Try n, s, m, x, b, p, and c on the overview page to change the column sorting. On a file page, r, m, x, and p toggle the run, missing, excluded, and partial line markings. You can navigate the highlighted sections of code by using the j and k keys for next and previous. The 1 (one) key jumps to the first highlighted section in the file, and 0 (zero) scrolls to the top of the file.
  • HTML reporting is now incremental: a record is kept of the data that produced the HTML reports, and only files whose data has changed will be generated. This should make most HTML reporting faster.

Running Python files

  • Modules can now be run directly using coverage run -m modulename, to mirror Python's -m flag. Closes issue 95, thanks, Brandon Rhodes.
  • coverage run didn't emulate Python accurately in one detail: the current directory inserted into sys.path was relative rather than absolute. This is now fixed.
  • Pathological code execution could disable the trace function behind our backs, leading to incorrect code measurement. Now if this happens, coverage.py will issue a warning, at least alerting you to the problem. Closes issue 93. Thanks to Marius Gedminas for the idea.
  • The C-based trace function now behaves properly when saved and restored with sys.gettrace() and sys.settrace(). This fixes issue 125 and issue 123. Thanks, Devin Jeanpierre.
  • Coverage.py can now be run directly from a working tree by specifying the directory name to python: python coverage_py_working_dir run .... Thanks, Brett Cannon.
  • A little bit of Jython support: coverage run can now measure Jython execution by adapting when $py.class files are traced. Thanks, Adi Roiban.


  • Partial branch warnings can now be pragma'd away. The configuration option partial_branches is a list of regular expressions. Lines matching any of those expressions will never be marked as a partial branch. In addition, there's a built-in list of regular expressions marking statements which should never be marked as partial. This list includes while True:, while 1:, if 1:, and if 0:.
  • The --omit and --include switches now interpret their values more usefully. If the value starts with a wildcard character, it is used as-is. If it does not, it is interpreted relative to the current directory. Closes issue 121.
  • Syntax errors in supposed Python files can now be ignored during reporting with the -i switch just like other source errors. Closes issue 115.

Version 3.4 --- 19 September 2010

Controlling source:

  • BACKWARD INCOMPATIBILITY: the --omit and --include switches now take file patterns rather than file prefixes, closing issue 34 and issue 36.
  • BACKWARD INCOMPATIBILITY: the omit_prefixes argument is gone throughout coverage.py, replaced with omit, a list of filename patterns suitable for fnmatch. A parallel argument include controls what files are included.
  • The run command now has a --source switch, a list of directories or module names. If provided, coverage.py will only measure execution in those source files. The run command also now supports --include and --omit to control what modules it measures. This can speed execution and reduce the amount of data during reporting. Thanks Zooko.
  • The reporting commands (report, annotate, html, and xml) now have an --include switch to restrict reporting to modules matching those file patterns, similar to the existing --omit switch. Thanks, Zooko.


  • Completely unexecuted files can now be included in coverage results, reported as 0% covered. This only happens if the --source option is specified, since coverage.py needs guidance about where to look for source files.
  • Python files with no statements, for example, empty __init__.py files, are now reported as having zero statements instead of one. Fixes issue 1.
  • Reports now have a column of missed line counts rather than executed line counts, since developers should focus on reducing the missed lines to zero, rather than increasing the executed lines to varying targets. Once suggested, this seemed blindingly obvious.
  • Coverage percentages are now displayed uniformly across reporting methods. Previously, different reports could round percentages differently. Also, percentages are only reported as 0% or 100% if they are truly 0 or 100, and are rounded otherwise. Fixes issue 41 and issue 70.
  • The XML report output now properly includes a percentage for branch coverage, fixing issue 65 and issue 81, and the report is sorted by package name, fixing issue 88.
  • The XML report is now sorted by package name, fixing issue 88.
  • The precision of reported coverage percentages can be set with the [report] precision config file setting. Completes issue 16.
  • Line numbers in HTML source pages are clickable, linking directly to that line, which is highlighted on arrival. Added a link back to the index page at the bottom of each HTML page.

Execution and measurement:

  • Various warnings are printed to stderr for problems encountered during data measurement: if a --source module has no Python source to measure, or is never encountered at all, or if no data is collected.
  • Doctest text files are no longer recorded in the coverage data, since they can't be reported anyway. Fixes issue 52 and issue 61.
  • Threads derived from threading.Thread with an overridden run method would report no coverage for the run method. This is now fixed, closing issue 85.
  • Programs that exited with sys.exit() with no argument weren't handled properly, producing a coverage.py stack trace. This is now fixed.
  • Programs that call os.fork will properly collect data from both the child and parent processes. Use coverage run -p to get two data files that can be combined with coverage combine. Fixes issue 56.
  • When measuring code running in a virtualenv, most of the system library was being measured when it shouldn't have been. This is now fixed.
  • Coverage can now be run as a module: python -m coverage. Thanks, Brett Cannon.

Version 3.3.1 --- 6 March 2010

  • Using parallel=True in a .coveragerc file prevented reporting, but now does not, fixing issue 49.
  • When running your code with coverage run, if you call sys.exit(), coverage.py will exit with that status code, fixing issue 50.

Version 3.3 --- 24 February 2010

  • Settings are now read from a .coveragerc file. A specific file can be specified on the command line with --rcfile=FILE. The name of the file can be programmatically set with the config_file argument to the coverage() constructor, or reading a config file can be disabled with config_file=False.
  • Added coverage.process_start to enable coverage measurement when Python starts.
  • Parallel data file names now have a random number appended to them in addition to the machine name and process id. Also, parallel data files combined with coverage combine are deleted after they're combined, to clean up unneeded files. Fixes issue 40.
  • Exceptions thrown from product code run with coverage run are now displayed without internal coverage.py frames, so the output is the same as when the code is run without coverage.py.
  • Fixed issue 39 and issue 47.

Version 3.2 --- 5 December 2009

  • Branch coverage: coverage.py can tell you which branches didn't have both (or all) choices executed, even where the choice doesn't affect which lines were executed. See :ref:`branch` for more details.
  • The table of contents in the HTML report is now sortable: click the headers on any column. The sorting is persisted so that subsequent reports are sorted as you wish. Thanks, Chris Adams.
  • XML reporting has file paths that let Cobertura find the source code, fixing issue 21.
  • The --omit option now works much better than before, fixing issue 14 and issue 33. Thanks, Danek Duvall.
  • Added a --version option on the command line.
  • Program execution under coverage is a few percent faster.
  • Some exceptions reported by the command line interface have been cleaned up so that tracebacks inside coverage.py aren't shown. Fixes issue 23.
  • Fixed some problems syntax coloring sources with line continuations and source with tabs: issue 30 and issue 31.

Version 3.1 --- 4 October 2009

  • Python 3.1 is now supported.
  • Coverage.py has a new command line syntax with sub-commands. This expands the possibilities for adding features and options in the future. The old syntax is still supported. Try coverage help to see the new commands. Thanks to Ben Finney for early help.
  • Added an experimental coverage xml command for producing coverage reports in a Cobertura-compatible XML format. Thanks, Bill Hart.
  • Added the --timid option to enable a simpler slower trace function that works for DecoratorTools projects, including TurboGears. Fixed issue 12 and issue 13.
  • HTML reports now display syntax-colored Python source.
  • Added a coverage debug command for getting diagnostic information about the coverage.py installation.
  • Source code can now be read from eggs. Thanks, Ross Lawley. Fixes issue 25.

Version 3.0.1 --- 7 July 2009

  • Removed the recursion limit in the tracer function. Previously, code that ran more than 500 frames deep would crash.
  • Fixed a bizarre problem involving pyexpat, whereby lines following XML parser invocations could be overlooked.
  • On Python 2.3, coverage.py could mis-measure code with exceptions being raised. This is now fixed.
  • The coverage.py code itself will now not be measured by coverage.py, and no coverage modules will be mentioned in the nose --with-cover plugin.
  • When running source files, coverage.py now opens them in universal newline mode just like Python does. This lets it run Windows files on Mac, for example.

Version 3.0 --- 13 June 2009

  • Coverage is now a package rather than a module. Functionality has been split into classes.
  • HTML reports and annotation of source files: use the new -b (browser) switch. Thanks to George Song for code, inspiration and guidance.
  • The trace function is implemented in C for speed. Coverage runs are now much faster. Thanks to David Christian for productive micro-sprints and other encouragement.
  • The minimum supported Python version is 2.3.
  • When using the object api (that is, constructing a coverage() object), data is no longer saved automatically on process exit. You can re-enable it with the auto_data=True parameter on the coverage() constructor. The module-level interface still uses automatic saving.
  • Code in the Python standard library is not measured by default. If you need to measure standard library code, use the -L command-line switch during execution, or the cover_pylib=True argument to the coverage() constructor.
  • API changes:
    • Added parameters to coverage.__init__ for options that had been set on the coverage object itself.
    • Added clear_exclude() and get_exclude_list() methods for programmatic manipulation of the exclude regexes.
    • Added coverage.load() to read previously-saved data from the data file.
    • coverage.annotate_file is no longer available.
    • Removed the undocumented cache_file argument to coverage.usecache().