Pytest Fixtures and Yield

Hi πŸ‘‹

In this short article I want to explain the use of the yield keyword in pytest fixtures.

What is pytest?

Pytest is a complex python framework used for writing tests. It has lots of advanced features and it supports plugins. Many projects prefer pytest in addition to Python’s unitttest library.

What is a fixture?

A test fixture is a piece of code that fixes some common functionality that is required for writing the unit tests. This functionality can be

  • a connection to the database
  • a testing http server or client
  • creation of a complex object

You can read more about test fixtures on Wikipedia.

What does yield keyword do?

In Python, the yield keyword is used for writing generator functions, in pytest, the yield can be used to finalize (clean-up) after the fixture code is executed. Pytest’s documentation states the following.

β€œYield” fixtures yield instead of return. With these fixtures, we can run some code and pass an object back to the requesting fixture/test, just like with the other fixtures.

An example code could be the following:

def my_object_fixture():
    print("1. fixture code.")
    yield MyObjectThatRequiresCleanUp()
    print("4. fixture code after yield.")

Running a sample test which utilizes the fixture will output:

collected 1 item                                                                                                                                                                       

tests\ 1. fixture code.
2. Initializing MyObjectThatRequiresCleanUp
3. test code.
.4. fixture code after yield.

Running the same test but now with the fixture my_object_fixture2, will output:

tests\ 1. fixture code.
2. Initializing MyObjectThatRequiresCleanUp
2.1 Entering
3. test code.
.3.1 Exiting
Clean exit
4. fixture code after yield.

I hope I could successfully ilustrate with these examples the order in which the testing and fixture code is run.

To run the tests, I’ve used pytest --capture=tee-sys . in the project root. The file contents are attached to the end of this article. The --capture parameter is used to capture and print the tests stdout. Pytest will only output stdout of failed tests and since our example test always passes this parameter was required.


Pytest is a python testing framework that contains lots of features and scales well with large projects.

Test fixtures is a piece of code for fixing the test environment, for example a database connection or an object that requires a specific set of parameters when built. Instead of duplicating code, fixing the object’s creation into a fixture makes the tests easier to maintain and write.

yield is a python keyword and when it is used in conjunction with pytest fixtures it gives you a nice pythonic way of cleaning up the fixtures.

Thanks for reading! πŸ“š

Contents of the Pytest fixtures placed in tests/

import pytest

from my_object import MyObjectThatRequiresCleanUp

def my_object_fixture():
    print("1. fixture code.")
    yield MyObjectThatRequiresCleanUp()
    print("4. fixture code after yield.")

def my_object_fixture2():
    print("1. fixture code.")
    with MyObjectThatRequiresCleanUp() as obj:
        yield obj
    print("4. fixture code after yield.")

Contents of

class MyObjectThatRequiresCleanUp:
    def __init__(self):
        print("2. Initializing MyObjectThatRequiresCleanUp")

    def __enter__(self):
        print("2.1 Entering")
        return self

    def __exit__(self, exc_type, exc_val, exc_tb):
        print("3.1 Exiting")
        if exc_type is None:
            print("Clean exit")
            print("Exception occurred: {}".format(exc_type))

Contents of placed in tests/

from tests import my_object_fixture

def test_my_object(my_object_fixture):
    print("3. test code.")

Testing Python projects with Tox

Hi πŸ‘‹

In this article I will show you how to test your Python projects with Tox.


Tox is a tool for automating testing in Python, their vision is to standardize the testing process. It can be used to easily test your project using multiple Python interpreters and run various commands.

Getting Started

To get started all you need to add to your project is a tox.ini file. To simplify running the tests we will make use of the following Dockerfile, which contains Python interpreters for 3.6 and 3.7

FROM ubuntu:20.04

RUN apt update && apt install -y software-properties-common \
               && add-apt-repository ppa:deadsnakes/ppa \
               && apt install -y python3.6 && apt install -y python3.7 \
               && apt install -y python3-pip && pip3 install tox

VOLUME /code


A tox.ini file which tests using python 3.6 and python 3.7 looks like this:

# content of: tox.ini , put in same dir as
skip_missing_interpreters = True
envlist = py36,py37

# install pytest in the virtualenv where commands will be executed
deps =
commands =
    # NOTE: you can run any command line tool here – not just tests

commands =
  pytest β€”junitxml=results.xml \
    β€”cov=your-moduleβ€”cov-config=tox.ini β€”cov-report=xml
    coverage2clover -i coverage.xml -o clover.xml
deps =

We have two environments: testenv and testenv:bamboo, the later one being used for coverage reporting in Bamboo using clover. To run Tox with a specific environment you’d type tox -e bamboo.

To run the test via the Dockerfile, first you’d build the docker container using: docker build . -f Dockerfile -t tox

Then, you’d run the container with docker run -v “$(pwd)”:”/code” tox -e bamboo to test with the Bamboo environment or just docker run -v “$(pwd)”:”/code” tox for the default env.

Practical Example

Here’s an example that you can use to follow along. We have the following files:

@denis ➜ tox_article ls
__pycache__  tox.ini
# @denis ➜ tox_article cat
import unittest

class TestStringMethods(unittest.TestCase):

    def test_upper(self):
        self.assertEqual('foo'.upper(), 'FOO')

    def test_isupper(self):

    def test_split(self):
        s = 'hello world'
        self.assertEqual(s.split(), ['hello', 'world'])
        # check that s.split fails when the separator is not a string
        with self.assertRaises(TypeError):

if __name__ == '__main__':
# @denis ➜ tox_article cat tox.ini
skip_missing_interpreters = True
envlist = py36,py37
skipsdist = True

commands =
    python -m unittest%

Running Tox in our docker image will yield the following output:

@denis ➜ tox_article docker run -v "$(pwd)":"/code" tox
py36 create: /code/.tox/py36
py36 run-test-pre: PYTHONHASHSEED='520882151'
py36 run-test: commands[0] | python -m unittest
Ran 3 tests in 0.000s

py37 create: /code/.tox/py37
py37 run-test-pre: PYTHONHASHSEED='520882151'
py37 run-test: commands[0] | python -m unittest
Ran 3 tests in 0.000s

___________________________________ summary ____________________________________
  py36: commands succeeded
  py37: commands succeeded
  congratulations πŸ™‚

The same tests are run twice, first with Python 3.6 and then with Python 3.7.

Thanks for reading and happy testing! πŸ”§