IceCream is a little library for sweet and creamy debugging.

See https://github.com/gruns/icecream.

Programming language: Python
License: MIT License
Tags: Debugging Tools     Library     Python    
Latest version: v2.0.0

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IceCream โ€” Never use print() to debug again

Do you ever use print() or log() to debug your code? Of course you do. IceCream, or ic for short, makes print debugging a little sweeter.

ic() is like print(), but better:

  1. It prints both expressions/variable names and their values.
  2. It's 40% faster to type.
  3. Data structures are pretty printed.
  4. Output is syntax highlighted.
  5. It optionally includes program context: filename, line number, and parent function.

IceCream is well tested, [permissively licensed](LICENSE.txt), and supports Python 2, Python 3, PyPy2, and PyPy3.

Inspect Variables

Have you ever printed variables or expressions to debug your program? If you've ever typed something like


or the more thorough

print("foo('123')", foo('123'))

then ic() is here to help. With arguments, ic() inspects itself and prints both its own arguments and the values of those arguments.

from icecream import ic

def foo(i):
    return i + 333



ic| foo(123): 456


d = {'key': {1: 'one'}}

class klass():
    attr = 'yep'


ic| d['key'][1]: 'one'
ic| klass.attr: 'yep'

Just give ic() a variable or expression and you're done. Easy.

Inspect Execution

Have you ever used print() to determine which parts of your program are executed, and in which order they're executed? For example, if you've ever added print statements to debug code like

def foo():

    if expression:

then ic() helps here, too. Without arguments, ic() inspects itself and prints the calling filename, line number, and parent function.

from icecream import ic

def foo():

    if expression:


ic| example.py:4 in foo()
ic| example.py:11 in foo()

Just call ic() and you're done. Simple.

Return Value

ic() returns its argument(s), so ic() can easily be inserted into pre-existing code.

>>> a = 6
>>> def half(i):
>>>     return i / 2
>>> b = half(ic(a))
ic| a: 6
>>> ic(b)
ic| b: 3


ic.format(*args) is like ic() but the output is returned as a string instead of written to stderr.

>>> from icecream import ic
>>> s = 'sup'
>>> out = ic.format(s)
>>> print(out)
ic| s: 'sup'

Additionally, ic()'s output can be entirely disabled, and later re-enabled, with ic.disable() and ic.enable() respectively.

from icecream import ic





ic| 1: 1
ic| 3: 3

ic() continues to return its arguments when disabled, of course; no existing code with ic() breaks.

Import Tricks

To make ic() available in every file without needing to be imported in every file, you can install() it. For example, in a root A.py:

#!/usr/bin/env python3
# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-

from icecream import install

from B import foo

and then in B.py, which is imported by A.py, just call ic():

# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-

def foo():
    x = 3

install() adds ic() to the builtins module, which is shared amongst all files imported by the interpreter. Similarly, ic() can later be uninstall()ed, too.

ic() can also be imported in a manner that fails gracefully if IceCream isn't installed, like in production environments (i.e. not development). To that end, this fallback import snippet may prove useful:

    from icecream import ic
except ImportError:  # Graceful fallback if IceCream isn't installed.
    ic = lambda *a: None if not a else (a[0] if len(a) == 1 else a)  # noqa


ic.configureOutput(prefix, outputFunction, argToStringFunction, includeContext) can be used to adopt a custom output prefix (the default is ic|), change the output function (default is to write to stderr), customize how arguments are serialized to strings, and/or include the ic() call's context (filename, line number, and parent function) in ic() output with arguments.

>>> from icecream import ic
>>> ic.configureOutput(prefix='hello -> ')
>>> ic('world')
hello -> 'world'

prefix can optionally be a function, too.

>>> import time
>>> from icecream import ic
>>> def unixTimestamp():
>>>     return '%i |> ' % int(time.time())
>>> ic.configureOutput(prefix=unixTimestamp)
>>> ic('world')
1519185860 |> 'world': 'world'

outputFunction, if provided, is called with ic()'s output instead of that output being written to stderr (the default).

>>> import logging
>>> from icecream import ic
>>> def warn(s):
>>>     logging.warning(s)
>>> ic.configureOutput(outputFunction=warn)
>>> ic('eep')
WARNING:root:ic| 'eep': 'eep'

argToStringFunction, if provided, is called with argument values to be serialized to displayable strings. The default is PrettyPrint's pprint.pformat(), but this can be changed to, for example, handle non-standard datatypes in a custom fashion.

>>> from icecream import ic
>>> def toString(obj):
>>>    if isinstance(obj, str):
>>>        return '[!string %r with length %i!]' % (obj, len(obj))
>>>    return repr(obj)
>>> ic.configureOutput(argToStringFunction=toString)
>>> ic(7, 'hello')
ic| 7: 7, 'hello': [!string 'hello' with length 5!]

The default argToStringFunction is icecream.argumentToString, and has methods to register and unregister functions to be dispatched for specific classes using functools.singledispatch. It also has a registry property to view registered functions.

>>> from icecream import ic, argumentToString
>>> import numpy as np
>>> # Register a function to summarize numpy array
>>> @argumentToString.register(np.ndarray)
>>> def _(obj):
>>>     return f"ndarray, shape={obj.shape}, dtype={obj.dtype}"
>>> x = np.zeros((1, 2))
>>> ic(x)
ic| x: ndarray, shape=(1, 2), dtype=float64
>>> # View registered functions
>>> argumentToString.registry
mappingproxy({object: <function icecream.icecream.argumentToString(obj)>,
              numpy.ndarray: <function __main__._(obj)>})
>>> # Unregister a function and fallback to the default behavior
>>> argumentToString.unregister(np.ndarray)
>>> ic(x)
ic| x: array([[0., 0.]])

includeContext, if provided and True, adds the ic() call's filename, line number, and parent function to ic()'s output.

>>> from icecream import ic
>>> ic.configureOutput(includeContext=True)
>>> def foo():
>>>   ic('str')
>>> foo()
ic| example.py:12 in foo()- 'str': 'str'

includeContext is False by default.


Installing IceCream with pip is easy.

$ pip install icecream

Related Python libraries

ic() uses executing by @alexmojaki to reliably locate ic() calls in Python source. It's magic.

IceCream in Other Languages

Delicious IceCream should be enjoyed in every language.

If you'd like a similar ic() function in your favorite language, please open a pull request! IceCream's goal is to sweeten print debugging with a handy-dandy ic() function in every language.

*Note that all licence references and agreements mentioned in the icecream README section above are relevant to that project's source code only.