Generating Python Unit Test Reports in XML Format through PyUnit

python unittest report xml

What is Python Unittest

Python Unittest, also known as PyUnit, is a testing library framework that is built within the Python standard library. It is used to create automated tests for software applications written in Python. Unittest is the default testing framework and it provides a rich set of testing features and capabilities.

Python Unittest is based on the common xUnit architecture which is used by many testing frameworks. It enables users to create test cases, manage test suits, organize test results, and generate test reports. It is designed to support a wide range of testing methodologies, including unit testing, integration testing, and functional testing.

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One of the main benefits of Python Unittest is the ease with which test cases can be created. Test cases are created as functions which can contain multiple assertions and checks. These functions can be executed automatically by the framework, and any errors or issues can be reported in a structured way.

A key feature of Python Unittest is the ability to generate reports in various formats, including the commonly used JUnit XML format. This report format allows for easy integration with continuous integration and build systems such as Jenkins and Bamboo, making it possible to automate the testing process as well as track and manage results.

Another important aspect of Python Unittest is that it supports test-driven development (TDD). TDD is a development methodology that emphasizes writing automated tests before writing the actual code for a software application. This methodology ensures that tests are written to cover all aspects of the software, and that any bugs or errors are caught early on in the development process.

Python Unittest provides a rich set of tools for developers to perform automated testing for their software applications. Its integration with other tools and platforms make it a popular choice for developers who want to incorporate automated testing into their development workflow.

Why Use Unittest XML Report

unittest XML report

Python Unittest is an automation testing framework that helps developers write test codes to check if their software programs or application codes are working as expected. This framework comes with a lot of features that support a wide range of testing. The Unittest XML report is one of the features that give developers the ability to generate test reports in a structured, standardized way that can be viewed and consumed by different tools. It produces test results in an XML file format that can be easily parsed and analyzed by other applications and plugins. In this article, we discuss why developers should use the Unittest XML report to produce test results.

1. Easy and Structured Results Viewing

The Unittest XML report produces test results in an organized and structured format. It gives developers a clear and detailed report of all tests performed, including the success rate and failure rate. This makes it easy for developers and testers to view and understand the test results without going through each test individually. Additionally, because the XML report is machine-readable, it can be easily analyzed by other tools that support automated testing, making it easier and more efficient to identify which tests have failed and those that have passed.

2. Easy Integration with Continuous Integration and Deployment (CI/CD) Tools

CI/CD tools logo

Continuous Integration and Deployment (CI/CD) is a vital part of software development, where developers automate the building, testing, and deployment of the codebase. To achieve successful automation, developers need to integrate tools that streamline and orchestrate the process. Here, the Unittest XML report comes in handy as it can be easily integrated with various CI/CD tools such as Jenkins, CircleCI, Travis CI, and many others. These tools can easily read the XML report and display test results alongside other performance metrics and analysis, thus providing developers with valuable insights into their codebase’s health.

3. Better Collaboration Among Team Members

The Unittest XML report helps developers collaborate easily within their team members. By providing detailed and structured reports, developers and testers can easily share feedback on test results and pinpoint areas of concern that need fixing. The XML report can also be shared with other stakeholders like project managers, clients, and business analysts who may not have coding expertise but want to understand the project’s progress. This fosters transparency and trust among team members and stakeholders, leading to successful project delivery and acceptance.

4. Easier Debugging and Faster Bug resolution

Debugging is an essential part of software development, where developers identify and fix issues in their codes. The Unittest XML report makes debugging easier and faster by giving developers a detailed and structured report of all failed tests, including the root cause of the failure. This helps developers to quickly identify the issue, fix it, and quickly rerun the test to ensure that it passes. The faster the bugs are identified and resolved, the quicker the code is stabilized, leading to timely delivery of the project.

In conclusion, the Unittest XML report is a valuable tool for developers and testers working on software projects. It provides detailed and structured reports that are easy to integrate with various tools, and it makes collaboration among team members seamless. By generating test results in an XML format, it provides developers with valuable insights into their codebase and helps identify areas that need fixing.

How to generate Unittest XML Report

python unittest xml report

Python’s built-in unittest module provides a way to write test cases and run tests. One of the most useful features of the unittest module is the ability to generate an XML report of the test results. This report can be used to provide a detailed overview of the test results and can be used in continuous integration workflows, where test reports are used to determine the stability of the codebase. The unittest module generates an XML report by default, and the report’s location and format can be customized by specifying command-line options.

Generating the Unittest XML Report

unittest python

To generate an XML report of the unittest results, simply run the tests with the –xml option:

python -m unittest --xml output.xml

This command will run all the tests in the current directory and generate an XML report in the file named output.xml. The XML format of this report is defined by the standard TestResult schema, which can be used by a variety of tools and platforms to parse and display the test results. The XML report generated by unittest gives a detailed description of each test that was run, including the test’s name, status (passed/failed), and any relevant output or comments.

Customizing the Unittest XML Report

unittest python report

The unittest module provides a variety of options for customizing the XML report that is generated. Some of the most commonly used options are:

  • --xml – Specifies the name and location of the XML report.
  • --failfast – Stops the test run as soon as a test fails, instead of running all the tests.
  • --buffer – Redirects standard output and error to the report instead of printing it to the console.
  • --verbosity – Controls the level of detail in the report output.
  • --catch – Catches and reports errors that occur during test setup or tear down.
  • --pdb – Drops into the debugger on an error.

By default, the unittest module generates an XML report that includes all the tests that were run, along with their status and any relevant output. However, this default behavior can be customized if needed. For example, if you only want to include tests that failed in the report, you can use the --failfast option. Similarly, if you want to see detailed output from each test in the report, you can use the --buffer option to redirect standard output and error to the report.

Overall, the Unittest XML Report is a valuable tool for analyzing and debugging test results. By providing a detailed summary of each individual test case, it helps developers quickly identify code errors and bugs. Additionally, the XML format of the report makes it easy for developers to integrate their tests into continuous integration workflows, ensuring that all code changes are thoroughly tested before they are merged into the main branch.

Understanding Unittest XML Structure

python unittest report xml

Python unittest is a powerful unit testing framework that allows developers to write test cases and execute them to ensure that the code behaves as expected. The unittest module generates test reports in XML format, which can be used to analyze test results, track progress, and generate customized reports. In this article, we will discuss the structure of the unittest XML report and how to interpret it.

1. Root Element:

Python unittest XML Root

The root element of the unittest XML report is the testsuites element. It contains one or more testsuite elements, each representing a single test suite. If the unittest module is run with the TextTestRunner() class, there will be only one testsuite element in the XML report.

2. Testsuite Element:

Python unittest XML TestSuite

The testsuite element represents a single test suite and contains one or more testcase elements. It has the following attributes:

  • name: The name of the test suite.
  • tests: The total number of test cases in the test suite.
  • errors: The number of test cases that resulted in an error.
  • failures: The number of test cases that failed.
  • skipped: The number of test cases that were skipped.
  • time: The total time taken to run the test suite.

3. Testcase Element:

Python unittest XML TestCase

The testcase element represents a single test case and contains the following attributes:

  • name: The name of the test case.
  • classname: The name of the test class that the test case belongs to.
  • time: The time taken to run the test case.

The testcase element can also contain optional child elements such as failure, error, and skipped, each of which provides additional information about the outcome of the test case.

4. Failure Element:

Python unittest XML Failure

The failure element provides information about a test case that failed. It has the following attributes:

  • message: A human-readable message that describes the failure.
  • type: The type of failure.
  • text: The traceback of the failure.

The failure element is only present if the test case failed.

The failure element can be very useful when trying to understand why a test case failed. It provides detailed information about the error, including the location of the error in the code and any error messages that were generated. This information can be used to correct the error and improve the quality of the code.


Understanding the structure of the unittest XML report is essential for analyzing test results and tracking progress. By knowing the meaning of each element and attribute, developers can easily interpret the report and find ways to improve their code. By leveraging the power of the unittest module, developers can write better code, improve test coverage, and ensure the success of their projects.

Analyzing Unittest results from XML Report

python unittest report xml

Python provides the unittest module for unit testing of code. Once the tests are executed, the results generated in the XML format make the analysis of test results straightforward. The XML report can be processed to highlight the test failure reasons, order the results, and even integrate them into the CI/CD process.

Python unittest provides a feature to generate XML reports using the built-in XML test runner. XML reports are generated as test results in an XML file. The file extension is .xml, with a default filename of TEST-.xml.

For example, if the test class name is TestClass, the filename of the XML report would be TEST-TestClass.xml.

The XML output highlights the number of tests run, the time taken to execute them, and the overall test result of the test suite executed.

How to generate an XML report for unittest?

The unittest module has an inbuilt XML test runner that generates the XML report.

Here is an example to generate an XML report with the Python unittest module:

import unittest

# Create a test suite
suite = unittest.TestLoader().loadTestsFromTestCase(TestClass)

# Open the test file for XML output
with open(‘TEST-.xml’, ‘w’) as f:
# Use the built-in XML test runner
runner = unittest.XMLTestRunner(f)
python xml report

How to analyze unittest XML report?

Once the XML report is generated, the next step is to analyze it for test results. A variety of tools and libraries are available that provide parsing and analysis of the unittest XML report structure.

Using Python Unittest XML Report Parser

Python provides an inbuilt xml module to parse XML, and it can be used to parse the unittest XML report file.

Here is an example of how to parse a unittest XML report file:

import xml.etree.ElementTree as ElementTree

# Define the filename of the report
filename = ‘test.xml’

# Parse the XML report
tree = ElementTree.parse(filename)

# Get the root element of the report
root = tree.getroot()

# Iterate the testsuite element to retrieve test cases
for testsuite in root:
# iterate over every TestCase and print the result
for testcase in testsuite:
name = testcase.attrib[‘name’]
time = testcase.attrib[‘time’]
status = testcase.attrib[‘status’]
print(f”{name}: {status}. Execution time – {time}s”)

Using XSLT to analyze Unittest XML report

An alternative to parsing the XML report is to use XSLT to translate the XML file into an HTML format. The translated HTML report can be viewed in any browser.

The generated HTML report provides additional information, such as time taken for each test, and highlights the failed test results.

Here is an example of how to use XSLT to transform the Unittest XML report into HTML format:

import lxml.etree as etree

# Open the test file to be transformed
xml_doc = etree.parse(‘TEST-.xml’)
xsl_doc = etree.parse(‘testreport.xsl’)
transform = etree.XSLT(xsl_doc)

new_doc = transform(xml_doc)
# Generate the HTML report
with open(‘report.html’, ‘wb’) as f:

Using third-party tools to analyze Unittest XML report

There are open source third-party tools like Jenkins, Pytest, and CircleCI that integrate with the unit test execution workflow. These tools have in-built support for parsing and analyzing the Unittest report, which is generated as an XML file.

The test results with detailed information can be viewed in the CI/CD pipeline dashboard with filtered test results and other analysis options.


Generating unit test reports in XML format with Python unittest is a straightforward task. The unittest XML report generated can be parsed, transformed, and analyzed using a variety of tools and libraries available. Integration with third-party tools streamlines the unit testing, execution, and analysis process. Analyzing the Unittest XML report helps to identify the test failure reasons and improve the overall software quality.


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