Introducing "resources". A fixture lifecycle management library for your tests

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It's a short introduction to a project we have made recently here at Doist Inc to improve our test codebase. The project is named resources and it's not available on PyPI, but you can install it right from the github anyway.

pip install -e

What's the point of the project?

The idea is to provide a yet another way to manage your test fixtures (that is, objects and other resources you create usually before you start verifying an assertion.)

There are two popular ways to initialize fixtures in Python I'm aware of:

  • xUnit-style with setup/teardown methods. It is supported by the majority of frameworks and looks like the most universal way to initialize testing environment. Yet it's somewhat verbose and makes you either repeat yourself, or develop extensive set of helper functions, or hierarchy of test classes, or invent something else to ensure you keep DRY, and your tests are readable and manageable.
  • py.test-style, when you inject dependencies in a test functions by passing parameters in it. The py.test magic instantiates objects for you and calls a test function by passing them as arguments. It's good, because it's reusable and granular, but it's not very flexible: there is no easy way to pass parameters to a py.test fixture function.

Now, there is another way to make the same. The approach we propose is to create fixtures roughly the way we did it for py.test -- a function per fixture, and to use it the way how the Michael Foord's mock manages the lifespan of patches it applies -- with context managers, function decorators or start/stop methods.

So, without further ado, a short usage example which explains better than thousands of words. The library should work with py.test, nose or unittest.

# import global instance
from resources import resources

# register resource named "user" by defining a function with the same
# name. The function must have exactly one "yield" construction and is
# used both to set up and tear down the fixtures

def user(email='', password='password', username='Joe'):
    user = User.objects.create(email=email, password=password, username=username)
        yield user

# use resource with an automatically created "user_ctx" context manager
def test_user_properties():
    with resources.user_ctx() as user:
        # the resource will be available as an assignment target
        # of the "with"-construction
        assert user.username == 'Joe'
        # it's also stored in the "resources" global object
        assert resources.user.username == 'Joe'
    # instances doesn't exist and isn't accessible anymore
    assert not hasattr(resources, 'user')

It's a very basic example, though. If you feel like it may be useful for you, feel free to visit the github page and to read the README we created especially for this purpose.

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