Adventures in Machine Learning

Testing Python Code Made Easy with unittest: A Complete Guide

Python is a powerful programming language that offers the ability to test code and ensure the accuracy of its intended functionality. A crucial aspect of functional programming is the ability to have code snippets that can be reused.

As Python developers, we need to ensure that the code we write, especially functions, adhere to specific expected outcomes. The ideal way of achieving this is by creating test cases using the `unittest` module in Python.

This module offers Python developers a comprehensive way to write and manage tests of all types without having to worry about setting up testing frameworks or third-party packages.

Creating a Python Function for Testing

In creating a Python function that can be tested with `unittest`, developers need to define a critical function to be used as an example. This function can be anything that is relevant and viable for testing.

In creating this sample-function, we need to determine a problem the function will solve. We should also be able to define precisely what the output should be given a set of inputs.

Once we have established the sample function’s problem set, we can start to write the code for the sample function in Python. Writing Test Cases Using `unittest`

To start writing test cases for our sample-function, we first need to create a new Python file within the same directory as our sample function file.

Within this new file, we import the `unittest` module. After that, we create a new test class and create test methods for each function in our sample function.

Using Assert Methods provided by `unittest`

The `unittest` module has several assert methods that make it easy to test the function against expected results. For instance, `assertEqual()` can be used to compare the output of the function to an expected output with an allowance for precision.

`assertListEqual()` method compares elements in two lists. assertRaises() checks if excepetions were raised correctly.

There is also assertTrue(), which checks whether the value being asserted is true. Test Method Example for `add_numbers()`

Now that we have established the necessary `assert` methods, let’s create a test method to take `add_numbers()` for example.

The proposed function adds two numbers and returns the sum of the two parameters passed in. To test the add_numbers() function, our test method would take in two arguments and check if the function returns the correct result.

Running the Tests from Command Line with `unittest`

After setting up and writing test cases for the functions, we can now run the test methods, and by extension, the test cases themselves. This can be done by running the Python-file containing the unit tests directly using the command line.

This process will execute the code and provide feedback on whether the tests have passed or failed. If there are issues that arise, the test-runner will highlight the specific functions’ errors.

Example of Creating and Testing a Python Function with `unittest`

Let us consider an example to help with the understanding of using `unittest` in testing Python functions. Suppose we have a function named `divide` that divides two numbers.

The function’s definition is:

“` python

def divide(a, b):


result = a/b

except ZeroDivisionError:

print(“Cannot divide by Zero”)

return result


The above function accepts two parameters, a and b, and returns their quotient. The function also has a check to ensure division by zero does not occur.

However, to rule out bugs and ensure the function is returning data accurately, we will use `unittest` to create a test case. Writing Test Cases in a Separate File with `unittest`

First, we create a new Python file in the same directory as the main file.

Let’s call it ``. We now import the `unittest` module and the function we want to test.

The first method in our new test-class will check if the function returns the correct result when `a` is less than or equal to `b`:

“` python

import unittest

from divide import divide

class TestDivide(unittest.TestCase):

def test_divide(self):

self.assertEqual(divide(4, 2), 2)

self.assertEqual(divide(15, 3), 5)

self.assertEqual(divide(2, -8), -0.25)

self.assertEqual(divide(-50, -5), 10)

if __name__ == ‘__main__’:



As shown in the code snippet above, we have created a test class called `TestDivide`, which is a subclass of `unittest.TestCase`. The next line, `from divide import divide`, imports the `divide` function from the main code file.

We then create a method called `test_divide`, which will contain all our test cases. The `assertEqual()` method ensures that the results of the division are precisely what we expect them to be.

The final line, `if __name__ == ‘__main__’: unittest.main()`, runs the tests and provides feedback on which tests have passed or failed. Using Assert Methods provided by `unittest`

We can also make use of other assert methods provided by `unittest` to test the functions in our sample function.

For instance, if we assume our `divide()` function succeeds when we divide any number by `1`, we could add an additional test method like so:

“` python

def test_divide_by_one(self):

self.assertEqual(divide(4, 1), 4)

self.assertEqual(divide(7, 1), 7)

self.assertEqual(divide(-9, 1), -9)


This `test_divide_by_one()` method checks whether we get the expected result whenever we divide a value by 1. Here, we only need to use the `assertEqual()` method to pass correct values as expected results.


In conclusion, using `unittest` is a convenient and reliable way to create test cases for Python functions. It ensures that the code performs tasks to precision and produces required outputs.

Python developers can generate and manage test cases in one code file using the `unittest` module and run tests using the command line. By strictly adhering to creating and testing code with `unittest`, developers can trust that their code is reliable and performs as intended.

`unittest`: A Powerful Tool for Testing Python Code

`unittest` is a standard module in Python that offers a framework for writing and managing test cases for software applications. It is designed to make testing easy and straightforward, allowing developers to write and run automated tests to ensure that their code works as intended.

With `unittest`, developers can perform unit testing, integration testing, and regression testing, among others. Benefits of Using `unittest`

One of the primary benefits of using `unittest` is that it helps developers to ensure code quality.

By creating test cases for each function or module in their code, developers can easily evaluate its behavior and output. Testing also helps to identify bugs, errors, and other defects in the code, allowing developers to fix the issues before releasing the application.

Another benefit of using `unittest` is that it provides a systematic approach to testing. It simplifies the process of creating and managing test cases, making it easier to perform regression testing and other forms of testing.

Additionally, `unittest` provides convenient assert methods that reduce the amount of code required to check expected behavior and output values.

Summary of Using `unittest` with an Example

To summarize the use of `unittest`, let us consider the example of a simple Python function:


def add_numbers(a, b):

return a + b


We can create a test file called `` to test our function.

In this file, we can import the `unittest` module and create a test class called `TestAddNumbers`.

Next, we write test methods for each scenario where the function may be called.

For instance, we can write a test to verify that the function returns the correct result when passed positive integers:


class TestAddNumbers(unittest.TestCase):

def test_add_positive_numbers(self):

result = add_numbers(2, 3)

self.assertEqual(result, 5)


We can also write another test to verify the function’s behavior when passed negative integers:


def test_add_negative_numbers(self):

result = add_numbers(-2, -3)

self.assertEqual(result, -5)


Finally, we can run our tests on the command line using the following command:


python -m unittest


When running the above command, `unittest` will execute each test method in the `TestAddNumbers` class and provide feedback on whether the tests passed or failed. By running tests and ensuring they pass, we can trust that our code performs as intended.

In conclusion, `unittest` is a powerful tool for testing Python code. It offers a systematic approach to testing, simplifying the process of creating and managing test cases.

With `unittest`, developers can evaluate the behavior of their code quickly and efficiently, allowing them to identify bugs and other defects before releasing an application. By leveraging the benefits of `unittest`, developers can ensure the quality and reliability of their code, ultimately delivering better software applications to users.

In conclusion, `unittest` is a crucial tool for testing Python code. Through `unittest`, developers can ensure code quality, identify errors and bugs, and ultimately, improve software reliability and performance.

By following a systematic approach to testing with `unittest`, developers can simplify the testing process and easily create and manage test cases. Additionally, the `assert` methods provided by `unittest` simplify the testing process by allowing developers to check expected behavior and output values conveniently.

The takeaway for developers is that writing test cases is crucial to building reliable and trustworthy software, and `unittest` is the ideal tool for achieving that.

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