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Version: 2.7 (deprecated)

Command line help

How to dynamically get more information on Pants's internals.

Run ./pants help to get basic help, including a list of commands you can run to get more specific help:

$ ./pants help

Pants 2.1.0


./pants [option ...] [goal ...] [file/target ...] Attempt the specified goals on the specified files/targets.
./pants help Display this usage message.
./pants help goals List all installed goals.
./pants help targets List all installed target types.
./pants help subsystems List all configurable subsystems.
./pants help global Help for global options.
./pants help-advanced global Help for global advanced options.
./pants help [target_type/goal/subsystem] Help for a target type, goal or subsystem.
./pants help-advanced [goal/subsystem] Help for a goal or subsystem's advanced options.
./pants help-all Print a JSON object containing all help info.

[file] can be:
A path glob, such as '**/*.ext', in quotes to prevent premature shell expansion.

[target] can be:
path/to/dir for a target whose name is the same as the directory name.
path/to/dir: to include all targets in the specified directory.
path/to/dir:: to include all targets found recursively under the directory.

Documentation at
Download at

For example, to get help on the test goal:

$ ./pants help test

`test` goal options

Run tests.

Config section: [test]

default: False
current value: False
Run tests sequentially in an interactive process. This is necessary, for example, when you add
breakpoints to your code.

default: False
current value: False
Force the tests to run, even if they could be satisfied from cache.

Related subsystems: coverage-py, download-pex-bin, pants-releases, pex, pex-binary-defaults, pytest, python-infer, python-native-code, python-repos, python-setup, setup-py-generation, setuptools, source, subprocess-environment

Note that when you run ./pants help $goal, it outputs all related subsystems, such as pytest. You can then run ./pants help pytest to get more information.

You can also run ./pants help goals and ./pants help subsystems to get a list of all activated options scopes.

To get help on the python_tests target:

$ ./pants help python_tests


Python tests.

These may be written in either Pytest-style or unittest style.

All test util code, other than ``, should go into a dedicated `python_library()`
target and then be included in the `dependencies` field.


Valid fields:

type: str | Iterable[str] | None
default: None
A string for Python interpreter constraints on this target. This should be
written in Requirement-style format, e.g. `CPython==2.7.*` or `CPython>=3.6,<4`.
As a shortcut, you can leave off `CPython`, e.g. `>=2.7` will be expanded to
`CPython>=2.7`. If this is left off, this will default to the option
`interpreter_constraints` in the [python-setup] scope. See


Advanced Help

Many options are classified as advanced, meaning they are primarily intended to be used by admins, not by regular users.

Use help-advanced, e.g. ./pants help-advanced global or ./pants help-advanced pytest.