Unittest Module

The unittest module provides features for unit testing Python code. Similar to unit testing frameworks in other languages ,unittest allows for the following features:

  • Automation of unit tests.
  • Sharing of setup and tear-down code for tests.
  • Aggregation of tests into collections.


The following example begins with code for a Rectangle class that needs to be tested:

# saved as rectangle.py
import math
class Rectangle():
def __init__(self, h = 0, w = 0):
self.height = h
self.width = w
def area(self):
return self.height * self.width
def perimeter(self):
return 2 * (self.height + self.width)
def isSquare(self):
return self.height == self.width

The unittest module can set up automated tests for various conditions:

# saved as test.py
import unittest
import rectangle as rect
class RectangleTestCase(unittest.TestCase):
def test_area(self):
self.assertEqual(self.rectangle.area(), 50)
def test_perimeter(self):
self.assertEqual(self.rectangle.perimeter(), 30)
def test_isSquare(self):
self.rectangle.width = 5
def test_error(self):
self.rectangle.width = "A"
with self.assertRaises(TypeError):
a = self.rectangle.perimeter()
def setUp(self):
self.rectangle = rect.Rectangle(5 ,10)
if __name__ == '__main__':

First the unittest.TestCase class is subclassed for our test case object. Then tests are defined as methods with names starting with test. This naming convention is manditory as it allows the test runner to find the methods that represent tests.

Tests consist of methods containing calls to one or more assert methods of the test case object:

  • .assertEqual(): Test passes when both arguments are equal.
  • .assertTrue() : Test passes when argument is True.
  • .assertFalse() : Test passes when argument is False.
  • .assertRaises() : Test passes when the passed exception is raised.

The test case can have .setUp() and .tearDown() methods defined. The .setUp() method is for any initialization needed for the test, and will run before each test method is carried out. The .tearDown() method is run after each test method to do any needed cleanup after each test.

The call to unittest.main() runs the tests and provides the test script with a command-line interface.

Running the above produces the following:

$ python test.py
Ran 4 tests in 0.001s

The output shows a dot printed for each successful test.

Using the -v option on the command line will produce a more verbose test:

$ python test.py -v
test_area (__main__.RectangleTestCase) ... ok
test_error (__main__.RectangleTestCase) ... ok
test_isSquare (__main__.RectangleTestCase) ... ok
test_perimeter (__main__.RectangleTestCase) ... ok
Ran 4 tests in 0.001s

The output shows the following:

  • The method name for each test.
  • The test case class the method belongs to.
  • A message telling whether or the test was passed.


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