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pytest helpers for http smoke tests

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pytest helpers for http smoke tests

Making HTTP requests

zeit.nightwatch.Browser wraps a requests Session to provide some convenience features:

  • Instantiate with a base url, and then only use paths: http = Browser(''); http.get('/foo') will request

  • A convenience http fixture is provided, which can be configured via the nightwatch_config fixture.

  • Use call instead of get, because it’s just that little bit shorter. (http('/foo') instead of http.get('/foo'))

  • Fill and submit forms, powered by mechanicalsoup. (We’ve customized this a bit, so that responses are only parsed with beautifulsoup if a feature like forms or links is actually used.)

  • Logs request and response headers, so pytest prints these on test failures, to help debugging.

  • Use sso_login(username, password) to log into

  • See source code for specific API details.

Example usage:

def nightwatch_config():
    return dict(browser=dict(

def test_my_site(http):
    r = http.get('/something')
    assert r.status_code == 200

def test_login(http):
    http.form['username'] = ''
    http.form['password'] = 'secret'
    r = http.submit()
    assert '/home' in r.url

def test_meinezeit_redirects_to_konto_after_login(http):
    r = http.sso_login('', 'secret')
    assert r.url == ''

Examining HTML responses

nightwatch adds two helper methods to the requests.Response object:

  • xpath(): parses the response with lxml.html and then calls xpath() on that document

  • css(): converts the selector to xpath using cssselect and then calls xpath()

Example usage:

def test_error_page_contains_home_link(http):
    r = http('/nonexistent')
    assert r.status_code == 404
    assert r.css('a.home')

Controlling a browser with Selenium

zeit.nightwatch.WebDriverChrome inherits from selenium.webdriver.Chrome to provide some convenience features:

  • Instantiate with a base url, and then only use paths: browser = WebDriverChrome(''); browser.get('/foo')

  • A convenience selenium fixture is provided, which can be configured via the nightwatch_config fixture.

  • wait() wraps WebDriverWait and converts TimeoutException` into an ``AssertionError

  • Use sso_login(username, password) to log into

  • See source code for specific API details.

nightwatch also declares a pytest commandline option --selenium-visible to help toggling headless mode, and adds a selenium mark to all tests that use a selenium fixture, so you can (de)select them with pytest -m selenium (or -m 'not selenium'). Since you’ll probably want to set a base url, you have to provide this fixture yourself.

Example usage:

def nightwatch_config():
    return dict(selenium=dict(

def test_js_based_video_player(selenium):
    from import By
    from import expected_conditions as EC
    s = selenium
    s.wait(EC.presence_of_element_located((By.CLASS_NAME, 'videoplayer')))

Advanced usecase: To intercept/modify browser requests with selenium-wire, install that package (e.g. pip install selenium-wire) and set driver_class=ProxiedWebDriverChrome in the nightwatch selenium config:

def nightwatch_config():
    return dict(selenium=dict(

def test_inject_authorization_header(selenium):
    s = selenium
    s.request_interceptor = lambda x: r.headers['authorization'] = 'Bearer MYTOKEN'

Controlling a browser with playwright

As an alternative to Selenium (above) nightwatch also supports playwright; mostly by pulling in the pytest-playwright plugin, so you can use their fixtures, with some convenience features:

  • Configure a base url, and then only use paths: page.goto('/foo')

Example usage:

def nightwatch_config():
    return dict(selenium=dict(

def test_playwright_works(page):

Running against different environments

To help with running the same tests against e.g. a staging and production environment, nightwatch declares a pytest commandline option --nightwatch-environment.

A pattern we found helpful is using a fixture to provide environment-specific settings, like this:

    'base_url': '',
    'username': 'staging_user',
    'password': 'secret',

    'base_url': '',
    'username': 'production_user',
    'password': 'secret2',

def nightwatch_config(nightwatch_environment):
    config = globals()['CONFIG_%s' % nightwatch_environment.upper()]
    return dict(environment=nightwatch_environment, browser=config)

def test_some_integration_that_has_no_staging(http, nightwatch_config):
    if nightwatch_config['environment'] != 'production':
        pytest.skip('The xyz integration has no staging')
    r = http('/trigger-xyz')
    assert r.json()['message'] == 'OK'

Sending test results to prometheus

Like the medieval night watch people who made the rounds checking that doors were locked, our use case for this library is continuous black box high-level tests that check that main functional areas of our systems are working.

For this purpose, we want to integrate the test results with our monitoring system, which is based on Prometheus. We’ve taken inspiration from the pytest-prometheus plugin, and tweaked it a little to use a stable metric name, so we can write a generic alerting rule.

This uses the configured Pushgateway to record metrics like this (the environment label is populated from --nightwatch-environment, see above):

nightwatch_check{test="test_error_page_contains_home_link",environment="staging",job="website"}=1  # pass=1, fail=0

Clients should set the job name, e.g. like this:

def pytest_configure(config):
    config.option.prometheus_job_name = 'website'

This functionality is disabled by default, nightwatch declares a pytest commandline option --prometheus which has to be present to enable pushing the metrics. There also are commandline options to override the pushgateway url etc., please see the source code for those details.

Sending test results to elasticsearch

We’re running our tests as kubernetes pods, and their stdout/stderr output is captured and sent to elasticsearch. However the normal pytest output is meant for humans, but is not machine-readable. Thus we’ve implemented a JSON lines test report format that can be enabled with --json-report=filename or --json-report=- to directly send to stdout.

Here’s an output example, formatted for readability (in reality, each test produces a single JSON line, since that’s what our k8s log processor expects):

  "time": "2023-12-08T10:37:40.630617+00:00",
  "test_stage": "call",
  "test_class": "smoketest.test_api",
  "test_name": "test_example",
  "test_outcome": "passed",
  "system_log": "11:37:40 INFO  [zeit.nightwatch.requests][MainThread] > POST\n..."

zeit.nightwatch changes

1.9.1 (2024-06-04)

  • Apply convenience playwright Page.sso_login monkeypatch at import-time

1.9.0 (2024-06-04)

  • Support keycloak for SSO

1.8.0 (2024-05-13)

  • Also log HTTP response body, not just headers.

1.7.1 (2023-12-13)

  • Don’t try to json report if no argument was given

1.7.0 (2023-12-08)

  • Implement --json-report=- for line-based output

1.6.0 (2022-12-16)

  • Support playwright

1.5.1 (2022-06-24)

  • Use non-deprecated selenium API

1.5.0 (2022-03-25)

  • Support selenium-wire in addition to selenium

1.4.2 (2022-02-21)

  • ZO-712: Set referer explicitly during sso_login, required for csrf validation

1.4.1 (2021-10-27)

  • Include tests & setup in tarball to support devpi test

1.4.0 (2021-10-26)

  • Add patch to requests

1.3.3 (2021-04-01)

  • Support contains instead of equals for find_link

1.3.2 (2021-02-18)

  • Record skipped tests as passed to prometheus, not failed

1.3.1 (2021-02-17)

  • Handle same metric name (and testname only as label) correctly

1.3.0 (2021-02-17)

  • Allow to configure the test browsers via a config fixture

1.2.0 (2021-02-17)

  • Add convenience nightwatch fixture and toplevel API

  • Add first test & fix package setup

1.1.0 (2021-02-12)

  • Include prometheus functionality here, to fix pushgateway bug and support sending the test name as a label.

  • Declare namespace package properly

1.0.0 (2021-02-11)

  • Initial release

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