Testing Utilities in Django

by alex_gaynor

Lately I've had the opportunity to do some test-driven development with Django, which a) is awesome, I love testing, and b) means I've been working up a box full of testing utilities, and I figured I'd share them.

Convenient get() and post() methods

If you've done testing of views with Django you probably have some tests that look like:

def test_my_view(self):
    response = self.client.get(reverse("my_url", kwargs={"pk": 1}))

    response = self.client.post(reverse("my_url", kwargs={"pk": 1}), {
        "key": "value",

This was a tad too verbose for my tastes so I wrote:

def get(self, url_name, *args, **kwargs):
    return self.client.get(reverse(url_name, args=args, kwargs=kwargs))

def post(self, url_name, *args, **kwargs):
    data = kwargs.pop("data", None)
    return self.client.post(reverse(url_name, args=args, kwargs=kwargs), data)

Which are used:

def test_my_view(self):
    response = self.get("my_url", pk=1)

    response = self.post("my_url", pk=1, data={
        "key": "value",

Much nicer.

login() wrapper

The next big issue I had was logging in and out of multiple users was too verbose. I often want to switch between users, either to check different permissions or to test some inter-user workflow. That was solved with a simple context manager:

class login(object):
    def __init__(self, testcase, user, password):
        self.testcase = testcase
        success = testcase.client.login(username=user, password=password)
            "login with username=%r, password=%r failed" % (user, password)

    def __enter__(self):

    def __exit__(self, *args):

def login(self, user, password):
    return login(self, user, password)

This is used:

def test_my_view(self):
    with self.login("username", "password"):
        response = self.get("my_url", pk=1)

Again, a lot better.


Not quite a testing utility, but my app django-fixture-generator has made testing a lot easier for me. Fixtures are useful in getting data to work wit, but maintaining them is often a pain, you've got random scripts to generate them, or you just checkin some JSON to your repository with no way to regenerate it sanely (say if you add a new field to your model). django-fixture-generator gives you a clean way to manage the code for generating fixtures.

In general I've found context managers are a pretty awesome tool for writing clean, readable, succinct tests. I'm sure I'll have more utilities as I write more tests, hopefully someone finds these useful.

Hi, I'm Alex. I'm a software engineer at Mozilla, working on Firefox security. Before that I was a software engineer with the U.S. Digital Service. I'm an avid open source contributor and live in Washington, DC.