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Django smoketest framework

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Smoke test framework for Django.

Smoke tests are tests that are run on a production environment to quickly detect major systemic problems. Eg, after you run a deploy, you want to quickly check that everything is running properly so you can roll back quickly instead if there are problems. Too often, this just means visiting the site and manually clicking around through a few links (at best).

You probably already have unit tests verifying the correctness of low level parts of your code, and integration and acceptance tests running on a staging server or CI system. Maybe you've even got automatic configuration management ensuring that your staging server is configured as an exact replica of production. So logically, if your code passes all the tests on the staging server and the production server is configured the same, everything must work right in production. Right? Wouldn't it be wonderful if the world were so simple? Of course we know that it's not. That's why we want smoke tests to actually verify that at least the major components of the system are all basically functional and able to talk to each other and we didn't do something stupid like writing code that depends on a new environment variable that hasn't been set to the correct value on production yet.

You probably don't want to run your unit tests or integration tests in production with production settings in effect. Who knows what kind of insanity would result? Test data sprayed all through your production database, deleting user data from the file system, the sun rising in the west and setting in the east?

This is what smoke tests are for. Smoke tests should be safe to run in production. Verify that the application can connect to the database, that whatever filesystem mounts are expected are in place, etc. bridging that last gap between existing test coverage and the wilderness of production. But all while stepping carefully around the production data.

I also find myself frequently writing small views to support ad-hoc monitoring. Eg, if an application relies on an NFS mount for some infrequent operation and that mount has a tendency to go stale, a cron job that runs every few minutes (or via nagios or some other monitoring application) and has the application try to read a file off the mount can help ensure that we are alerted to the stale mount before users encounter it.

Getting Started

Install django-smoketest

$ pip install django-smoketest

Add smoketest to your INSTALLED_APPS.

In each application of yours that you want to define smoke tests for, make a file or a smoke directory with an and one or more python files with your tests.

In your, add something like:

('smoketest/', include('smoketest.urls'))

To your urlpatterns.

In your (or module), you put something like this:

from smoketest import SmokeTest
from myapp.models import FooModel

class DemoTest(SmokeTest):
    def test_foomodel_reads(self):
        """ just make sure we can read data from the db """
        cnt = FooModel.objects.all().count()
        self.assertTrue(cnt > 0)

    def test_foomodel_writes(self):
        """ make sure we can also write to the database
        but do not leave any test detritus around. Smoketests
		are automatically rolled back.
        f = FooModel.objects.create()

Now, if you make a GET to http://yourapp/smoketest/, django-smoketest will go through your code, finding any smoke modules, and run the tests you have defined (if you've used unittest or nose, you get the idea):

test classes: 1
tests run: 3
tests passed: 3
tests failed: 0
tests errored: 0
time: 1200.307861328ms

So you can just check the result for PASS if you are calling it from a monitoring script or as part of an automated deploy.

If tests fail or error out, you instead get something like:

test classes: 1
tests run: 8
tests passed: 5
tests failed: 2
tests errored: 1
time: 3300.07861328ms
module1.smoke.DemoTest.test_foo failed
module1.smoke.DemoTest.test_bar failed
module1.smoke.DemoTest.test_baz errored

If your HTTP client makes the request with application/json in the Accept: headers, responses will be JSON objects with the same information in a more easily parseable form:

$ curl -H "Accept: application/json" http://yourapp/smoketest/
{"status": "FAIL", "tests_failed": 2,
 "errored_tests": ["module1.smoke.DemoTest.test_baz"],
 "tests_run": 8, "test_classes": 1, "tests_passed": 5,
 "failed_tests": ["module1.smoke.DemoTest.test_foo",
 "module1.smoke.DemoTest.test_foo"], "tests_errored": 1,
 "time": 1.6458759307861328}

QUESTION: I'm thinking about keeping the output simple to parse automatically, but maybe we ought to just stick with unittest's existing output format instead?


The main class is smoketests.SmokeTest, which should be though of as equivalent to unittest.TestCase. It will do basically the usual stuff there, running setUp and tearDown methods, and supporting the usual array of assertEquals, assertRaises, assertTrue methods.

All smoketests are wrapped in a database transaction which is then rolled back after running. This frees you up to do potentially destructive things and just let the DB clean up for you. The usual caveats apply about making sure you are using a database that supports transactions and that it can only roll back database operations, not other side effects.

By default, django-smoketest will search through all apps mentioned in your INSTALLED_APPS, looking for smoketests. If you define a SMOKETEST_SKIP_APPS setting with a list of apps, django-smoketest will bypass any mentioned there.

Asserts supported (so far):

  • assertEqual(a, b)
  • assertNotEqual(a, b)
  • assertTrue(t)
  • assertFalse(x)
  • assertIs(a, b)
  • assertIsNot(a, b)
  • assertIsNone(x)
  • assertIsNotNone(x)
  • assertIn(a, b)
  • assertNotIn(a, b)
  • assertIsInstance(a, b)
  • assertNotIsInstance(a, b)
  • assertRaises(exception, function)
  • assertLess(a, b)
  • assertLessEqual(a, b)
  • assertGreater(a, b)
  • assertGreaterEqual(a, b)
  • assertAlmostEqual(a, b)
  • assertNotAlmostEqual(a, b)

All call accepts custom message as the last parameter (msg) just like all assert calls in unittest libraries.

Open Questions

What other unittest/nose flags, conventions, etc should we support? --failfast? output verbosity? ability to target or skip specific tests in certain cases? Automatic timeouts (a lot of smoke tests involve trying to connect to an external service and failing if it takes more than a specified period of time)?



  • I think it only handles files or smoke/ and won't yet find subclasses in submodules like smoke/
  • setUpClass/tearDownClass
  • extended assert* methods (listed in smoketest/


  • walk INSTALLED_APPLICATIONS and find/run smoke tests
  • report numbers in simple text format
  • run setUp and tearDown methods
  • when tests fail/error, report which ones failed/errored
  • proper module.class.method info on test failures/errors report
  • support the basic expected set of assert* methods from unittest
  • JSON output
  • time test runs and include in output
  • run tests in a rolled back transaction
  • report additional info (exception/tracebacks) on errors (Kristijan Mitrovic <kmitrovic>)
  • support messages on asserts (Kristijan Mitrovic <kmitrovic>)

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