Continous Integration Testing

In this section you will:

  • Understand the benefits Continuous Integration.

  • Configure Travis-CI, a “continuous integration” service, to operate on your GitHub repository.

What is CI for?

If “Continuous Integration” (CI) is new to you, we refer you to this excellent Software Carpentry tutorial on the subject. To summarize, CI speeds development by checking out your code on a fresh, clean server, installing your software, running the tests, and reporting the results. This helps you ensure that your code will work on your colleague’s computer—that it doesn’t accidentally depend on some local detail of your machine. It also creates a clear, public record of whether the tests passed or failed, so if things are accidentally broken (say, while you are on vacation) you can trace when the breaking change occurred.

Travis-CI Configuration

The cookiecutter template has already generated a configuration file for Travis-CI, which is one of several CI services that are free for public open-source projects.

# .travis.yml

language: python
  - 3.9
    - $HOME/.cache/pip
    - $HOME/.ccache  #

  # Install this package and the packages listed in requirements.txt.
  - pip install .
  # Install extra requirements for running tests and building docs.
  - pip install -r requirements-dev.txt

  - coverage run -m pytest  # Run the tests and check for test coverage.
  - coverage report -m  # Generate test coverage report.
  - codecov  # Upload the report to codecov.
  - flake8 --max-line-length=115  # Enforce code style (but relax line length limit a bit).
  - make -C docs html  # Build the documentation.

You can customize this to your liking. For example, if you are migrating a large amount of existing code that is not compliant with PEP8, you may want to remove the line that does flake8 style-checking.

Activate Travis-CI for Your GitHub Repository

  1. Go to and sign in with your GitHub account.

  2. You will be prompted to authorize Travis-CI to access your GitHub account. Authorize it.

  3. You will be redirected to, which shows a list of your GitHub repositories. If necessary, click the “Sync Account” button to refresh that list.

  4. Find your new repository in the list. Click the on/off switch next to its name activate Travis-CI on that repository.

  5. Click the repository name, which will direct you to the list of builds at The list will currently be empty. You’ll see construction cones.

  6. The next time you open a pull request or push a new commit to the master branch, Travis-CI will kick off a new build, and that list will update.


If this repository belongs to a GitHub organization (e.g. as opposed to a personal user account (e.g. you should follow Steps 3-5 above for the organization’s profile at It does no harm to also activate Travis-CI for your personal fork at, but it’s more important to activate it for the upstream fork associated with the organization.