On taking the ideas in Hypothesis

Last night on twitter, Eiríkr Åsheim asked me about the plausibility of taking some of the ideas from Hypothesis and putting them into Scalacheck. I thought I’d summarize elaborate on my response.

Basically, I’m incredibly for people taking ideas from Hypothesis. The new developments on Hypothesis are mostly about taking other peoples’ good ideas from other areas, cross-pollinating them, and putting in a ton of work to make them as effective as possible, so it would be entirely churlish for me to object to other people taking the ideas.

I think Eiríkr was mostly asking about the possibility of doing so though, which again my response is basically “yes this is 100% possible and if you want to do this I will help you”.

Some of the work on Hypothesis is basically how to make the best possible Quickcheck port in a dynamic language. If you’re working in Scala you probably don’t care about that that much, but maybe it would be interesting for Clojure I don’t know. To be honest I feel like this section of Hypothesis is a bit weird and I’m not really that interested in spreading it. If you want to know how it works we can talk about it but for now I’ll continue to just look faintly embarrassed about the subject.

The rest of Hypothesis though is just about how to make the best possible version of Quickcheck and the fact that I’m doing it in Python is practically a coincidence. The parametrization, derandomization, multi-armed bandits, example database and coverage driven discovery are all stuff you could write in any language you cared to name (though coverage driven discovery depends on how good your access to profiling/coverage APIs is, and the parametrization may be kinda annoying in most statically typed languages). There’s nothing Python specific about them and if you’re prepared to put in the work your favourite Quickcheck port could easily grow them and if you want to put in the work I will help you do so.

One of my requirements for a 1.0 release of Hypothesis is a vast amount of documentation. In particular there will be design documents for all these features which should make this a ton easier. In the meantime if there’s something that I haven’t written about that you want to know how it works, just ask me. Maybe prepare to be there for a while though as I probably won’t shut up about it.

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