figleaf -- Python code coverage analysis

Author: C. Titus Brown

figleaf is a Python code coverage analysis tool, built somewhat on the model of Ned Batchelder's fantastic coverage module. The goals of figleaf are to be a minimal replacement of '' that supports more configurable coverage gathering and reporting.

The main differences are:

You should use coverage if you're primarily looking at code coverage of unit tests; figleaf is probably more useful for situations where you are recording code coverage in multiple execution runs and/or want to tweak the reporting output.

Installing figleaf



Using figleaf from the command line

To run a command-line Python program with code coverage analysis, execute:

figleaf <program> <options to program>

You can run the program from 'bin/figleaf' in the development directory, i.e. without installing it, if you wish.

Using figleaf from within Python code

Briefly, at the top of the first module to be imported, place:

import figleaf

At the place where your program exits, place:


(You may want to put this in a 'finally:' clause.)

Retrieving results from a running Python program

The figleaf module was written to provide coverage for Web code; this occasionally presents a problem, because ideally you'd like to be able to retrieve the coverage results without exiting the Web server. Luckily the figleaf format is entire portable; just do

coverage = figleaf.get_info()
s = cPickle.dumps(coverage)

and export 's' as a Web download.

Coverage reports

The included program figleaf-to-html annotates Python files in HTML format; e.g.

figleaf2html -d ~/public_html/figleaf-output/ .figleaf

will produce a report on all of the files referenced in .figleaf, a coverage output database. The default output directory name is 'html', and the default coverage file is '.figleaf', so


is equivalent to

figleaf2html -d html .figleaf

The -f FILENAME or --files-list FILENAME option will limit coverage reporting to the source files listed in the file FILENAME:

figleaf2html -f interesting-files.txt

This is useful when there are files that may never be imported; if they are specified in interesting-files.txt then they will be reported with 0% coverage.

The -q option changes the logging mode to print warnings only, and the -D option changes the logging mode to print all messages.


@CTB - to be written -

sections file vs coverage file

@CTB - to be written -

nose plugins

@CTB - to be written -

Stumbling blocks and advanced issues

canonical vs reported paths; speed issues.


Iain Lowe has contributed several patches that are in the main figleaf branch; you can see his own darcs repository at

Pratik Mehta contributed a patch to filename munging that is much appreciated!

Andrew Dalke debugged figleaf output and suggested a number of new features.