Organizing Django Tests into Folders

Update: Due to some strange Django error, Django will refuse to run your app’s tests if your application doesn’t have a file. You’ll need to create an empty models.pyin your app’s folder if you don’t have one

Django comes with a nice testing  rig that lets you individually test each app.  By using a combination of pyunit & Django’s testing tools, you’ll be able to whip up a testing suite for each of your site’s apps (more information here:

However there is some strangeness as to how Django expects the tests to be organized. From the Django documentation:

For a given Django application, the test runner looks
for doctests in two places:

    * The file. You can define module-level doctests and/or
      a doctest for individual models. It's common practice to put
      application-level doctests in the module docstring and model-level
      doctests in the model docstrings.
    * A file called in the application directory
      -- i.e., the directory that holds This file is a
      hook for any and all doctests you want to write that aren't
      necessarily related to models.

Which sounds simple enough, until you end up with a bloated file that covers 5 different aspects of your app.

Now wouldn’t it be great if you could split them into different files and group them into a folder?

Putting your Tests into a Folder

  1. In your app’s folder, create a new folder called tests
  2. Break up your file into “logical” (what that exactly means is up to you :P) python files. Remember to add in the import statements for each file
  3. Move your new files into the tests folder
  4. In tests, create a new file
  5. You want to modify your as such:
    from [Project Name].[App Name].tests.[filename] import *
    #starts the test suite
    __test__= {
               'mytest': [filename]

    Note that the filename’s  .py extension should be excluded from [filename]!

  6. And that’s it! Just follow those basic rules to add all your new test files to
    You can go ahead and delete the original file now as well. Happy testing!
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  1. Zo
    Posted July 29, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    I am trying to implement this b/c it is exactly what I have been looking. Unfortunately, I get a NameError: name ‘GeneralTests’ is not defined.

    My code for :

    from pythonproject.testproj.tests.GeneralTests import *

    __test__= {
    ‘mytest': GeneralTests

    Python 2.6
    Django 1.2.1

    Could you offer any help please?

  2. Posted July 29, 2010 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Hrm, make sure is in the same folder as, and try using from GeneralTests import * instead

  3. Posted April 14, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Thanks very useful

  4. Adorilson
    Posted October 20, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    And about the docstring out of

  5. Sam
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    I know this is an old post, but how are you supposed to call the individual tests from the CL? Is there any chance this does not work in Django 1.4?

  6. Posted January 9, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    Hi Sam,

    As far as I know there is no way to execute only one test case from an application’s You can, however, choose to only execute tests for a specific application module in your Django project.

  7. Sam
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    Actually I got it to work on a per-TestCase basis:

    ` ./ test tool.MyTestCase`

    Otherwise, great post!

  8. vaibhav jain
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Great post. I want to know how to run specific test suite not all of them at once.

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