Fixing pip and easy_install, and getting colorful output from unittest

I’ve noticed in a lot of talks/ videos that people in the Ruby universe that work with tools like RSpec for writing unit tests/ doing TDD often have a nice colorful output. Aesthetics aside, I like the idea of the visual feedback – with red indicating your errors or failures and green or blue indicating your passing tests. It makes it much easier to use the sense of color to get feedback instead of having to actually carefully read the text scrolling on the terminal. There has to be a reason, after all, why TDD often has the moniker red-green-refactor. Searching on this matter, I rather quickly came across pyrg, which seems like an excelled tool.

However, since I kind of overwrote my existing Python installation (OS X 10.6) with the version from Macports, my easy_install and pip were still pointing toward one of my older Python installations. Ergo, pyrg wouldn’t run. After researching for a while I came across this excellent post on Stack Overflow, and followed the instructions to uninstall my easy_install and then reinstall using the distribute package mentioned on there, followed by reinstalling pip.

This by itself didn’t do anything, and I had to make sure in my shell’s rc file that the Macport version of Python was in the path before other, regular places like /usr/local/bin, etc. That fixed it. Run with $ pyrg python_file or $ python python_file |& pyrg. Colors can be easily customized as well. Hooray for going from the colorless test run output on the left to a proper visual feedback on the right!


Colorful with pyrg


Colorless without pyrg


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