Python Language Test Setup and Teardown within a unittest.TestCase


Sometimes we want to prepare a context for each test to be run under. The setUp method is run prior to each test in the class. tearDown is run at the end of every test. These methods are optional. Remember that TestCases are often used in cooperative multiple inheritance so you should be careful to always call super in these methods so that base class's setUp and tearDown methods also get called. The base implementation of TestCase provides empty setUp and tearDown methods so that they can be called without raising exceptions:

import unittest

class SomeTest(unittest.TestCase):
    def setUp(self):
        super(SomeTest, self).setUp()
        self.mock_data = [1,2,3,4,5]

    def test(self):
        self.assertEqual(len(self.mock_data), 5)

    def tearDown(self):
        super(SomeTest, self).tearDown()
        self.mock_data = []

if __name__ == '__main__':

Note that in python2.7+, there is also the addCleanup method that registers functions to be called after the test is run. In contrast to tearDown which only gets called if setUp succeeds, functions registered via addCleanup will be called even in the event of an unhandled exception in setUp. As a concrete example, this method can frequently be seen removing various mocks that were registered while the test was running:

import unittest
import some_module

class SomeOtherTest(unittest.TestCase):
    def setUp(self):
        super(SomeOtherTest, self).setUp()
        # Replace `some_module.method` with a `mock.Mock`
        my_patch = mock.patch.object(some_module, 'method')

        # When the test finishes running, put the original method back.

Another benefit of registering cleanups this way is that it allows the programmer to put the cleanup code next to the setup code and it protects you in the event that a subclasser forgets to call super in tearDown.