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Setting Up a Development Environment

Getting started

Cloning the repo

To create a local copy of Presidio repository, follow Github instructions on how to clone a project using git. The project is structured so that:

  • Each Presidio service has a designated directory:
  • The service logic.
  • Tests, both unit and integration.
  • Serving it as an HTTP service (found in
  • Python Packaging setup script (
  • In the project root directory, you will find common code for using, serving and testing Presidio as a cluster of services, as well as CI/CD pipelines codebase and documentation.

Setting up Pipenv

Pipenv is a Python workflow manager, handling dependencies and environment for Python packages. It is used by each Presidio service as the dependencies manager, to be aligned with the specific requirements versions. Follow these steps when starting to work on a Presidio service with Pipenv:

  1. Install Pipenv

    • Using Pip

      pip install --user pipenv
    • Using Homebrew (in MacOS)

      brew install pipenv

    Additional installation instructions for Pipenv:

  2. Have Pipenv create a virtualenv for the project and install all requirements in the Pipfile, including dev requirements.

    For example, in the presidio-analyzer folder, run:

    pipenv install --dev --skip-lock
  3. Run all tests:

    pipenv run pytest
  4. To run arbitrary scripts within the virtual env, start the command with pipenv run. For example:

    1. pipenv run flake8
    2. pipenv run pip freeze
    3. pipenv run python -m spacy download en_core_web_lg

    Command 3 downloads the default spacy model needed for Presidio Analyzer.`

Alternatively, activate the virtual environment and use the commands by starting a pipenv shell

  1. Start shell:

    pipenv shell
  2. Run commands in the shell

    pip freeze

Dependency lock using Pipenv

In some cases we would like to lock the dependencies used by each package. To lock dependencies, first update the Pipfile file, then run the following command:

pipenv lock

Lock considerations:

  1. Consider running pipenv lock on a Python 3.7 environment. Using Python 3.7 makes sure the lock would apply to all Python versions supported by Presidio (3.7 and on).
  2. Consider locking on mac/linux and not Windows to support all platforms. In windows you can use WSL.

For example, use conda to create a Python 3.7 environment:

conda create -n presidio_37 python=3.7
conda activate presidio_37
# in the package's directory:
pipenv lock

Development guidelines

  • A Github issue suggesting the change should be opened prior to a PR.
  • All contributions should be documented, tested and linted. Please verify that all tests and lint checks pass successfully before proposing a change.
  • To make the linting process easier, you can use pre-commit hooks to verify and automatically format code upon a git commit
  • In order for a pull request to be accepted, the CI (containing unit tests, e2e tests and linting) needs to succeed, in addition to approvals from two maintainers.
  • PRs should be small and solve/improve one issue at a time. If you have multiple suggestions for improvement, please open multiple PRs.

Local build process

After modifying presidio codebase, you might want to build presidio cluster locally, and run tests to spot regressions. The recommended way of doing so is using docker-compose (bundled with 'Docker Desktop' for Windows and Mac systems, more information can be found here). Once installed, to start presidio cluster with all of its services in HTTP mode, run from the project root:

docker-compose up --build -d


Building for the first time might take some time, mainly on downloading the default spacy models.

To validate that the services were built and started successfully, and to see the designated port for each, use docker-compose ps:

>docker-compose ps
CONTAINER ID   IMAGE                       COMMAND                  CREATED         STATUS         PORTS                    NAMES
6d5a258d19c2   presidio-anonymizer         "/bin/sh -c 'pipenv …"   6 minutes ago   Up 6 minutes>5001/tcp   presidio_presidio-anonymizer_1
9aad2b68f93c   presidio-analyzer           "/bin/sh -c 'pipenv …"   2 days ago      Up 6 minutes>5001/tcp   presidio_presidio-analyzer_1
1448dfb3ec2b   presidio-image-redactor     "/bin/sh -c 'pipenv …"   2 seconds ago   Up 2 seconds>5001/tcp   presidio_presidio-image-redactor_1

Edit docker-compose.yml configuration file to change the default ports.

Starting part of the cluster, or one service only, can be done by stating its image name as argument for docker-compose. For example for analyzer service:

docker-compose up --build -d presidio-analyzer


We strive to have a full test coverage in Presidio, and expect every pull request to include tests.

In each service directory, a 'test' directory can be found. In it, both unit tests, for testing single files or classes, and integration tests, for testing integration between the service components, or integration with external packages.

Basic conventions

For tests to be consistent and predictable, we use the following basic conventions:

  1. Treat tests as production code. Keep the tests concise and readable, with descriptive namings.
  2. Assert on one behavior at a time in each test.
  3. Test names should follow a pattern of test_when_[condition_to_test]_then_[expected_behavior]. For example: test_given_an_unknown_entity_then_anonymize_uses_defaults.
  4. Use test doubles and mocks when writing unit tests. Make less use of them when writing integration tests.

Running tests

Presidio uses the pytest framework for testing. See the pytest documentation for more information.

Running the tests locally can be done in two ways:

  1. Using cli, from each service directory, run:

    pipenv run pytest
  2. Using your IDE. See configuration examples for JetBrains PyCharm / IntelliJ IDEA and Visual Studio Code

End-to-end tests

Since Presidio services can function as HTTP servers, Presidio uses an additional end-to-end (e2e) testing layer to test their REST APIs. This e2e test framework is located under 'e2e-tests' directory. In it, you can also find test scenarios testing the integration between Presidio services through REST API. These tests should be annotated with 'integration' pytest marker @pytest.mark.integration, while tests calling a single service API layer should be annotated with 'api' pytest marker @pytest.mark.api.

Running the e2e-tests locally can be done in two ways:

  1. Using cli, from e2e-tests directory, run:

    On Mac / Linux / WSL:

    # Create a virtualenv named presidio-e2e (needs to be done only on the first run)
    python -m venv presidio-e2e
    # Activate the virtualenv
    source presidio-e2e/bin/activate
    # Install e2e-tests requirements using pip
    pip install -r requirements.txt
    # Run pytest
    # Deactivate the virtualenv

    On Windows CMD / Powershell:

    # Create a virtualenv named presidio-e2e (needs to be done only on the first run)
    py -m venv presidio-e2e
    # Activate the virtualenv
    # Install e2e-tests requirements using pip
    pip install -r requirements.txt
    # Run pytest
    # Deactivate the virtualenv
  2. Using your IDE

    See references in the section above.


The e2e tests require a Presidio cluster to be up, for example using the containerized cluster with docker-compose.

Build and run end-to-end tests locally

Building and testing presidio locally, as explained above, can give good assurance on new changes and on regressions that might have introduced during development. As an easier method to build and automatically run end-to-end tests, is to use the run.bat script found in the project root:

On Mac / Linux / WSL:

chmod +x run.bat

On Windows CMD / Powershell:



Presidio services are PEP8 compliant and continuously enforced on style guide issues during the build process using flake8.

Running flake8 locally, using pipenv run flake8, you can check for those issues prior to committing a change.

In addition to the basic flake8 functionality, Presidio uses the following extensions:

  • pep8-naming: To check that variable names are PEP8 compliant.
  • flake8-docstrings: To check that docstrings are compliant.

Automatically format code and check for code styling

To make the linting process easier, you can use pre-commit hooks to verify and automatically format code upon a git commit, using black:

  1. Install pre-commit package manager locally.

  2. From the project's root, enable pre-commit, installing git hooks in the .git/ directory by running: pre-commit install.

  3. Commit non PEP8 compliant code will cause commit failure and automatically format your code using black, as well as checking code formatting using flake8

    >git commit -m 'autoformat' presidio-analyzer/presidio_analyzer/predefined_recognizers/
    - hook id: black
    - files were modified by this hook
    reformatted presidio-analyzer/presidio_analyzer/predefined_recognizers/
    All done!
    1 file reformatted.
  4. Committing again will finish successfully, with a well-formatted code.