Managing the Python path

pytest needs to be able to import the code in your project. Normally, when interacting with Django code, the interaction happens via manage.py, which will implicilty add that directory to the Python path.

However, when Python is started via the pytest command, some extra care is needed to have the Python path setup properly. There are two ways to handle this problem, described below.

Automatic looking for of Django projects

By default, pytest-django tries to find Django projects by automatically looking for the project’s manage.py file and adding its directory to the Python path.

Looking for the manage.py file uses the same algorithm as pytest uses to find pytest.ini, tox.ini and setup.cfg: Each test root directories parents will be searched for manage.py files, and it will stop when the first file is found.

If you have a custom project setup, have none or multiple manage.py files in your project, the automatic detection may not be correct. See managing_the_python_path_explicilty for more details on how to configure your environment in that case.

Managing the Python path explicitly

First, disable the automatic Django project finder. Add this to pytest.ini, setup.cfg or tox.ini:

[pytest]
django_find_project = false

Next, you need to make sure that your project code is available on the Python path. There are multiple ways to achieve this:

Managing your project with virtualenv, pip and editable mode

The easiest way to have your code available on the Python path when using virtualenv and pip is to have a setup.py file and install your project in editable mode when developing.

If you don’t already have a setup.py file, creating a setup.py file with this content will get you started:

import setuptools
setuptools.setup(name='myproj', version='1.0')

This setup.py file is not sufficient to distribute your package to PyPI or more general packaging, but it should help you get started. Please refer to the Python Packaging User Guide for more information on packaging Python applications.`

To install the project afterwards:

pip install --editable .

Your code should then be importable from any Python application. You can also add this directly to your project’s requirements.txt file like this:

# requirements.txt
-e .
django>=1.7
pytest-django

Using pytest-pythonpath

You can also use the pytest-pythonpath plugin to explicitly add paths to the Python path.