Stack-based test setUp and tearDown

Writing doctest setUp and tearDown functions can be a bit tedious, especially when setUp/tearDown functions are combined. This is also true of unittest.TestCase tests. The zope.testing.setupstack eases the tedium for both types of tests.

The zope.testing.setupstack module provides a small framework for automating test tear down. It provides a generic tearDown function that calls the registered functions (in reverse order); there is no need for special setup code.

To see how this works we’ll create a faux test:

>>> class Test:
...     def __init__(self):
...         self.globs = {}
>>> test = Test()

We’ll register some tearDown functions that just print something:

>>> import sys
>>> import zope.testing.setupstack
>>> zope.testing.setupstack.register(
...     test, lambda : sys.stdout.write('td 1\n'))
>>> zope.testing.setupstack.register(
...     test, lambda : sys.stdout.write('td 2\n'))

Now, when we call the tearDown function:

>>> zope.testing.setupstack.tearDown(test)
td 2
td 1

The registered tearDown functions are run. Note that they are run in the reverse order that they were registered.

Extra positional arguments can be passed to register:

>>> zope.testing.setupstack.register(
...    test, lambda x, y, z: sys.stdout.write('%s %s %s\n' % (x, y, z)),
...    1, 2, z=9)
>>> zope.testing.setupstack.tearDown(test)
1 2 9

Temporary Test Directory

Often, tests create files as they demonstrate functionality. They need to arrange for the removeal of these files when the test is cleaned up.

The setUpDirectory function automates this. We’ll get the current directory first:

>>> import os
>>> here = os.getcwd()

We’ll also create a new test:

>>> test = Test()

Now we’ll call the setUpDirectory function:

>>> zope.testing.setupstack.setUpDirectory(test)

Now the current working directory has changed:

>>> here == os.getcwd()
>>> setupstack_cwd = os.getcwd()

We can create files to out heart’s content:

>>> with open('Data.fs', 'w') as f:
...     foo = f.write('xxx')
>>> os.path.exists(os.path.join(setupstack_cwd, 'Data.fs'))

We’ll make the file read-only. This can cause problems on Windows, but setupstack takes care of that by making files writable before trying to remove them.

>>> import stat
>>> os.chmod('Data.fs', stat.S_IREAD)

On Unix systems, broken symlinks can cause problems because the chmod attempt by the teardown hook will fail; let’s set up a broken symlink as well, and verify the teardown doesn’t break because of that:

>>> if sys.platform != 'win32':
...     os.symlink('NotThere', 'BrokenLink')

When tearDown is called:

>>> zope.testing.setupstack.tearDown(test)

We’ll be back where we started:

>>> here == os.getcwd()

and the files we created will be gone (along with the temporary directory that was created:

>>> os.path.exists(os.path.join(setupstack_cwd, 'Data.fs'))

Context-manager support

You can leverage context managers using the contextmanager method. The result of calling the content manager’s __enter__ method will be returned. The context-manager’s __exit__ method will be called as part of test tear down:

>>> class Manager(object):
...     def __init__(self, *args, **kw):
...         if kw:
...             args += (kw, )
...         self.args = args
...     def __enter__(self):
...         print_('enter', *self.args)
...         return 42
...     def __exit__(self, *args):
...         print_('exit', args, *self.args)
>>> manager = Manager()
>>> test = Test()
>>> zope.testing.setupstack.context_manager(test, manager)
>>> zope.testing.setupstack.tearDown(test)
exit (None, None, None)

By far the most commonly called context manager is unittest.mock.patch, so there’s a convenience function to make that simpler:

>>> zope.testing.setupstack.mock(test, 'time.time', return_value=42)
enter time.time {'return_value': 42}
>>> zope.testing.setupstack.tearDown(test)
exit (None, None, None) time.time {'return_value': 42}


Doctests have globs attributes used to hold test globals. setupstack was originally designed to work with doctests, but can now work with either doctests, or other test objects, as long as the test objects have either a globs attribute or a __dict__ attribute. The zope.testing.setupstack.globs function is used to get the globals for a test object:

>>> zope.testing.setupstack.globs(test) is test.globs

Here, because the test object had a globs attribute, it was returned. Because we used the test object above, it has a setupstack:

>>> '__zope.testing.setupstack' in test.globs

If we remove the globs attribute, the object’s instance dictionary will be used:

>>> del test.globs
>>> zope.testing.setupstack.globs(test) is test.__dict__
>>> zope.testing.setupstack.context_manager(test, manager)
>>> '__zope.testing.setupstack' in test.__dict__

The globs function is used internally, but can also be used by setup code to support either doctests or other test objects.


A TestCase class is provided that:

  • Makes it easier to call setupstack apis, and

  • provides an inheritable tearDown method.

In addition to a tearDown method, the class provides methods:


Creates a temporary directory, runs the test, and cleans it up.


Register a tear-down function.


Enters a context manager and exits it on tearDown.

mock(*args, **kw)

Enters unittest.mock.patch with the given arguments.

This is syntactic sugur for:

context_manager(mock.patch(*args, **kw))

Here’s an example:

>>> class MyTests(zope.testing.setupstack.TestCase):
...     def setUp(self):
...         self.setUpDirectory()
...         # Create a new directory in the one set up above, which gets
...         # deleted in tear down:
...         os.mkdir('example')
...         self.context_manager(manager)
...         self.mock("time.time", return_value=42)
...         @self.register
...         def _():
...             print('done w test')
...     def test(self):
...         if here == os.getcwd():
...             print('Failed to change directory')