git clone 'https://github.com/jakemcc/lein-test-refresh.git'

(ql:quickload :jakemcc.lein-test-refresh)

Build Status


This is a Leiningen plug-in that automatically refreshes and then runs your clojure.test tests when a file in your project changes.

It also works with expectations clojure.test compatible syntax.


sample.project.clj show optional configuration. It and the rest of this readme should be used as documentation as to how lein-test-refresh can be used.


Latest version

Add the above to your ~/.lein/profiles.clj. It should look similar to below.

{:user {:plugins [[com.jakemccrary/lein-test-refresh "0.24.1"]]}}

Alternatively you may add it to your project.clj.

(defproject sample
  :dependencies [[org.clojure/clojure "1.8.0"]]
  :profiles {:dev {:plugins [[com.jakemccrary/lein-test-refresh "0.24.1"]]}})

In my personal setup I also include humane-test-output which changes clojure.test's output to be more readable. Other users include ultra instead which does even more to the output (color, prettifying exceptions and diffs, etc).

Enter your project's root directory and run lein test-refresh. The output will look something like this.

$ lein test-refresh
*************** Running tests ***************

<standard clojure.test output>

Failed 1 of 215 assertions
Finished at 08:25:20.619 (run time: 9.691s)

Your terminal will just stay like that. Fairly often lein-test-refresh polls the file system to see if anything has changed. When there is a change your code is tested again.

If you need to rerun your tests without changing a file then hit Enter when focused on a running lein test-refresh. This behavior will stop if test-refresh thinks it has read till the end of STDIN. This is usually caused by hitting ctrl-d, but also when a specific version of bash is invoked by test-refresh which can happen when running tests or notify commands.

Built-in test narrowing (test selector)

Have you ever been running all of your tests and then want to only focus on one? Instead of commenting out the others or quitting lein-test-refresh and restarting with a test-selector you can add :test-refresh/focused true to your test(s) or namespace.

With the below code, only test-addition will run until the :test-refresh/focus marker is removed from it.

(deftest ^:test-refresh/focus test-addition
  (is (= 2 (+ 1 1))))

(deftest test-subtraction
  (is (= 0 (- 10 9 1))))

You can optionally specify a shorter flag by adding :focus-flag :your-flag to test-refresh's configuration.

Configuration Features

A sample.project.clj contains the definitive example of configuring lein-test-refresh features. Configuration can appear in any file that Leiningen uses to merge into your project's configuration when running commands. Often lein-test-refresh configuration is a personal preference and should be configured in your personal ~/.lein/profiles.clj.


lein-test-refresh supports specifying a notification command. This command is passed a short message after your tests have run. This command is configured through your project.clj or profiles.clj. For example, if you want to send OSX notifications using terminal-notifier then you would add the following to your project.clj or profiles.clj

:test-refresh {:notify-command ["terminal-notifier" "-title" "Tests" "-message"]}

lein-test-refresh also has built-in Growl support. To receive Growl notifications run lein test-refresh :growl. This has been tested with modern versions of Growl for OS X, Linux, and Windows. You can also always set this to true by setting :test-refresh {:growl true}}. An example can be found in the sample project.clj.

:notify-on-success is another available option. It can be used to turn off notifications when your tests are successful. Set :notify-on-success false to turn off success notifications. An example can be found in the sample project.clj.

Reduced terminal output

lein-test-refresh can be configured to suppress clojure.test's Testing namespace output. Add :quiet true to your :test-refresh configuration map to suppress clojure.test's noisy output. This is particularly useful on codebases with a large number of test namespaces.

Only run changes in changed namespaces.

lein-test-refresh can be configured to only automatically run tests in changed namespaces. This can be used to get even faster feedback since only tests where something has changed will be run. You can toggle this mode by adding a :changes-only true entry in your :test-refresh configuration or by passing it as a command line option lein test-refresh :changes-only.

If you are in this mode and want to run all your tests you can trigger them by hitting enter in the terminal where lein-test-refresh is running.

Custom Clojure.test report

lein-test-refresh can be configured to use a custom clojure.test output report. Add :report myreport.namespace/myreport to your :test-refresh configuration map to use your own reporter for clojure.test's output. An example can be found in the sample project.clj.

Running your tests once

At first this seems like a weird feature for a refreshing test runner to support but because of the other features lein-test-refresh supports, such as custom test runners, being able to just run tests once can be useful. See this pull request for discussion.

You can either configure this option in your project.clj (or profiles.clj) or pass it as a command line option. Check out sample.project.clj for an example of project configuration.

Using it at the command line looks like lein test-refresh :run-once.

Running with a REPL

lein-test-refresh can be run with :with-repl which will start up a repl that you can interact with inbetween test runs. The main reason for this option is that sometimes you want to affect global state in your application. An example is when you see a test failure, you can call (taoensso.timbre/set-level! :debug) and see more information.

See this pull request for details.

Running in a REPL

lein-test-refresh supports running in a repl. This was done to support running in Cursive's repl so users could click and navigate to source.

To use this feature, add lein-test-refresh as a project dependency instead of as a plugin. Then open your repl and do the following

user=> (require 'com.jakemccrary.test-refresh)
user=> (com.jakemccrary.test-refresh/run-in-repl "test")
*************** Running tests ***************

The tests will run until you kill the evaluation with ctrl-c.

This feature is one I never use myself. I'd consider it experimental. In my very limited testing I've had some weird behavior where I couldn't get it to stop running. I'm putting it out there though so others can use it.


I encourage pull requests. If you're making a large change it is probably a good idea to create an issue and run it by me first. If you open a pull request you should expect me to review the code and potentially suggest improvements.

Working on lein-test-refresh can be a bit tricky. Despite being a tool to enhance testing it has very few tests itself. As a result its sort of a pain to work on. My typical work flow is outlined below. I encourage you to do the following as well (or better yet, add some useful tests!).

  1. Open two terminals, one in the ./test-refresh directory and one in ./lein2.
  2. In ./test-refresh run lein install to put a version built from your local lein-test-refresh checkout into your ~/.m2 directory.
  3. The project in ./lein2 is setup to use whatever version is specified in ./test-refresh/project.clj. As a result it will use the recently lein installed version from the above step. Use the project in ./lein2 to test out your local version of lein-test-refresh. Toggle settings in ./lein/project.clj to test various features. Make tests fail and pass.
  4. Make your changes to the project in ./test-refresh and lein install.
  5. Repeat manual testing in ./lein2. Add sample code or configuration to ./lein2 project to show your changes.

Its a bit painful but it works. If there were more active changes happening to the project I'd invest the time to figure out how to test it but given the stability of lein-test-refresh I haven't bothered. They would be a welcome addition.

Latest version & Change log

The latest version is the highest non-snapshot version found in CHANGES.md or whatever the below images says (sometimes image doesn't seem to load).

Latest version


lein-test-refresh has been tested to work with Clojure 1.5.1, 1.6, and 1.7, 1.8, 1.9 with Leiningen 2.3+.

Because of tools.namespace changes lein-test-refresh requires that your project use Clojure >= 1.3.0. If your project also depends on a version of tools.namespace < 0.2.1 you may see occasional exceptions.

Leiningen 1.0

If you are using Leiningen 1 this project is definitely broken starting on lein-test-refresh version 0.21.0. Try using 0.20.0 or earlier. These versions were not explicitly tested with Leiningen 1 but they probably work. Leiningen 1 is not officially supported.


Copyright (C) Jake McCrary

Distributed under the Eclipse Public License, the same as Clojure.