Developing Projects with Ape

Use ape to create blockchain projects. A common project structure looks like this:

project              # The root project directory
├── contracts/       # Project source files, such as '.sol' or '.vy' files
├── tests/           # Project tests, ran using the 'ape test' command
├── scripts/         # Project scripts, such as deploy scripts, ran using the 'ape run <name>' command
└── ape-config.yaml  # The ape project configuration file

See the Configuration guide for a more detailed explanation of settings you can use in your ape-config.yaml files.

Compiling Contracts

The project manager object is a representation of your current project. Access it from the root ape namespace:

from ape import project

Your project contains all the “relevant” files, such as source files in the contracts/ directory. The contracts/ directory is where compilers look for contracts to compile. File extensions found within the contracts/ directory determine which compiler plugin ape uses. Make sure to install the compiler plugins you need if they are missing by adding them to your ape-config.yaml’s plugin section, or manually adding via the following:

ape plugins add solidity
ape plugins add vyper

Then, use the following command to compile all contracts in the contracts/ directory:

ape compile

NOTE: Compiler plugins download missing compiler version binaries, based on the contracts’ pragma-spec.

The contract types are then accessible from the project manager; deploy them in the console or in scripts:

from ape import accounts, project

a = accounts.load("metamask_0")


The default provider for the development network is the Ethereum Tester provider. However, you can change the default provider per network using the ape-config.yaml file.

    default_provider: hardhat

For specifying the network in an ad-hoc fashion, commands such as run, test, and console offer a --network option:

ape run deploy --network ethereum:development:hardhat

NOTE: If you are using the default ecosystem or network, you can omit them from the option:

ape run deploy --network ::hardhat


You can test your project using the ape test command. The ape test command comes with the core-plugin ape-test. The ape-test plugin extends the popular python testing framework pytest.

Test Structure

Tests must be located in a project’s tests/ directory. Each test file must start with test_ and have the .py extension, such as Each test method within the file must also start with test_. The following is an example test:

def test_add():
    assert 1 + 1 == 2


Fixtures are any type of re-usable instances of something with configurable scopes. pytest handles passing fixtures into each test method as test-time. You can define your own fixtures or use existing ones. The ape-test plugin comes with fixtures you will likely want to use:

accounts fixture

You have access to test accounts. These accounts are automatically funded, and you can use them to transact in your tests. Access each test account by index from the accounts fixture:

def test_my_method(accounts):
    owner = accounts[0]
    other = accounts[1]

For code readability and sustainability, create your own fixtures using the accounts fixture:

import pytest

def owner(accounts):
    return accounts[0]

def other(accounts):
    return accounts[1]

def test_my_method(owner, other):

You can configure your accounts by changing the mnemonic or number_of_accounts settings in the test section of your ape-config.yaml file:

  mnemonic: test test test test test test test test test test test junk
  number_of_accounts: 5

project fixture

You also have access to the project you are testing. You will need this to deploy your contracts in your tests.

import pytest

def owner(accounts):
    return accounts[0]

def my_contract(project, owner):
    # ^ use the 'project' fixture from the 'ape-test' plugin
    return owner.deploy(project.MyContract)

Test Pattern

Tests are generally divisible into three parts:

  1. Set-up

  2. Invocation

  3. Assertion

In the example above, we created a fixture that deploys our smart-contract. This is an example of a ‘setup’ phase. Next, we need to call a method on our contract. Let’s assume there is a method called is_owner() that returns True when it is the owner of the contract making the transaction.

This is an example of how that test may look:

def test_is_owner(my_contract, owner, other):
    owner_is_owner =
    assert owner_is_owner

    other_is_owner =
    assert not other_is_owner

Test Providers

Out-of-the-box, your tests run using the eth-tester provider, which comes bundled with ape. If you have geth installed, you can use the ape-geth plugin that also comes with ape.

ape test --network ethereum:development:geth

Each testing plugin should work the same way. You will have access to the same test accounts.

Another option for testing providers is the ape-hardhat plugin, which does not come with ape but can be installed by including it in the plugins list in your ape-config.yaml file or manually installing it using the command:

ape plugins add hardhat