Unit testing

Thanks to WebOb, webapp2 is very testable. Testing a handler is a matter of building a custom Request object and calling get_response() on it passing the WSGI application.

Let’s see an example. First define a simple ‘Hello world’ handler to be tested:

import webapp2

class HelloHandler(webapp2.RequestHandler):
    def get(self):
        self.response.write('Hello, world!')

app = webapp2.WSGIApplication([('/', HelloHandler)])

def main():

if __name__ == '__main__':

To test if this handler returns the correct 'Hello, world!' response, we build a request object using Request.blank() and call get_response() on it:

import unittest
import webapp2

# from the app main.py
import main

class TestHandlers(unittest.TestCase):
   def test_hello(self):
       # Build a request object passing the URI path to be tested.
       # You can also pass headers, query arguments etc.
       request = webapp2.Request.blank('/')
       # Get a response for that request.
       response = request.get_response(main.app)

       # Let's check if the response is correct.
       self.assertEqual(response.status_int, 200)
       self.assertEqual(response.body, 'Hello, world!')

To test different HTTP methods, just change the request object:

request = webapp2.Request.blank('/')
request.method = 'POST'
response = request.get_response(main.app)

# Our handler doesn't implement post(), so this response will have a
# status code 405.
self.assertEqual(response.status_int, 405)


Request.blank(path, environ=None, base_url=None, headers=None, POST=None, **kwargs) is a class method that creates a new request object for testing purposes. It receives the following parameters:

A URI path, urlencoded. The path will become path_info, with any query string split off and used.
An environ dictionary.
If defined, wsgi.url_scheme, HTTP_HOST and SCRIPT_NAME will be filled in from this value.
A list of (header_name, value) tuples for the request headers.
A dictionary of POST data to be encoded, or a urlencoded string. This is a shortcut to set POST data in the environ. When set, the HTTP method is set to ‘POST’ and the CONTENT_TYPE is set to ‘application/x-www-form-urlencoded’.
Extra keyword arguments to be passed to Request.__init__().

All necessary keys will be added to the environ, but the values you pass in will take precedence.


We can also get a response directly from the WSGI application, calling app.get_response(). This is a convenience to test the app. It receives the same parameters as Request.blank() to build a request and call the application, returning the resulting response:

class HelloHandler(webapp2.RequestHandler):
    def get(self):
        self.response.write('Hello, world!')

app = webapp2.WSGIApplication([('/', HelloHandler)])

# Test the app, passing parameters to build a request.
response = app.get_response('/')
assert response.status_int == 200
assert response.body == 'Hello, world!'

Testing handlers could not be easier. Check the WebOb documentation for more information about the request and response objects.

Testing App Engine services

If you’re using App Engine and need to test an application that uses Datastore, Memcache or other App Engine services, read Local Unit Testing for Python in the official documentation. The App Engine SDK provides the module google.appengine.ext.testbed that can be used to setup all the necessary service stubs for testing.