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Setup Instructions


These instructions assume:

  • Your project is built on the cookiecutter
  • You have a Vue-based frontend
  • That Vue-based frontend is in the same repository as your Django project
  • You have an existing CI pipeline that runs tox

If your project does not match these assumptions, keep in mind that the instructions are not tailored for your use case and will likely require some adjustments.

Installing girder-pytest-pyppeteer

Add girder-pytest-pyppeteer and pytest-asyncio to your project's test dependencies

The tests you will be writing will live next to the rest of your tests, so Pytest needs to have all the fixtures and plugins available when it runs your normal suite of tests.

Since girder-pytest-pyppeteer is still in its infancy, it's recommended that you pin to girder-pytest-pyppeteer==0.0.12 to avoid any accidental breaking changes.

Installing girder-pytest-pyppeteer makes the plugin and fixtures available, but does not actually install pyppeteer. This is because installing pyppeteer also installs a complete chromium browser, which is a large and unnecessary dependency when running unit tests. Because girder-pytest-pyppeteer tests are normal pytest tests like the rest of your unit tests, they still need to loaded by pytest at runtime, even if they are not invoked. To install pyppeteer, you need to install the extra girder-pytest-pyppeteer[pyppeteer]==0.0.12.

Pyppeteer requires an async runner, so we also install pytest-asyncio to allow Pytest to deal with async test functions. You are free to use whatever async runner is convenient, but these instructions will assume pytest-asyncio.

Add the test-pyppeteer tox environment

To run the pyppeteer tests, you will need a new tox environment that looks something like this:

setenv =
    # See
    # This is necessary for the Django dev server to behave correctly
    DJANGO_CONFIGURATION = DevelopmentConfiguration
    # nodeversion >=17 deprecated some OpenSSL algorithms which a dependency is still using
    # I had to set this to get the browser window to show up in Ubuntu 20.04
passenv =
deps =
commands =
    pytest -m pyppeteer {posargs}

This should be pretty close to your existing [testenv:test], but with some additions. Let's go over the differences:

  • DJANGO_ALLOW_ASYNC_UNSAFE = true - This setting overrides Django's aversion to running in an asynchronous environment. It is required since we need to use async test methods to drive the pyppeteer browser.
  • DJANGO_CONFIGURATION = DevelopmentConfiguration - This is a shortcut that uses a default composed configuration to conveniently set everything required for a more-or-less functioning server environment suitable for testing against. The TestingConfiguration omits several settings that are needed when running a realistic server, so the DevelopmentConfiguration is used instead. You may have an existing configuration that is more suitable, or you may want to set up your own custom PyppeteerTestingConfiguration for explicitly configuring the test environment.
  • PYPETEER_TEST_CLIENT_COMMAND - The command used to launch the frontend server. This should generally be one of npm run serve or yarn run serve, depending on which you are using in the frontend.
  • PYPPETEER_TEST_CLIENT_DIR - The path to the directory containing the frontend project, relative to the root of the Django project. For example, if you had two folders my_django_app and my_vue_app that contained the Django project and Vue projects respectively, this would be set to ../my_vue_app. If instead your Vue project is contained within your Django project, like my_django_app/my_vue_app, this would be set to my_vue_app.
    • If your project is not a monorepo, you will need to make some policy decisions about where developers and the CI environment keep their Vue repository. You could require developers to clone or symlink the Vue repository to the same location (/my_vue_app), or perhaps document how to configure a custom tox environment that allows them to customize the location of the Vue repository. In CI, you can explicitly check out a specific tag in the Vue repository at a specific location that matches this configuration setting.
  • PYPPETEER_NODE_OPTIONS=--openssl-legacy-provider - Required when using certain older libraries with node >= 17. The CI image uses Node version 17, so you should ensure your local development node version is similarly up to date. Hopefully at some point the legacy dependencies that are necessitating this setting will be updated and this requirement can be removed.
  • DISPLAY=:1 - This was required in my environment (Ubuntu 20.04) for the browser window to render when running locally in non-headless mode. Your mileage may vary.
  • passenv DJANGO_STORAGE_BUCKET_NAME - This is the only setting required by the DevelopmentConfiguration that isn't included in the normal test configuration. You may need to include more settings here depending on your configuration.
  • passenv PYPPETEER_BROWSER_HEADLESS - This is a debugging feature to make it easier to open the Chromium browser in non-headless mode for debugging purposes. The intended usage is to invoke tox with PYPPETEER_BROWSER_HEADLESS=0 tox -e test-pyppeteer.
  • deps = girder-pytest-pyppeteer[pyppeteer]==0.0.12 - This ensures pyppeteer is installed, in addition to the pytest plugin.
  • pytest -m pyppeteer {posargs} - This invokes only the tests tagged with @pytest.mark.pyppeteer.

This list should be treated as a guide, not a cookiecutter. You will likely need to make some additions, omissions, and modifications to tune your project correctly. If you have any ideas that might apply more generally, issues and PRs are welcome.

Writing your first test

Pyppeteer tests are exactly the same as normal pytest tests, just with some extra bells and whistles.

To demonstrate the basics, here's a simple example of a test that visits the Kitware homepage and inspects the contents:

import pytest

async def test_kitware_homepage(page):
    # Go to the kitware home page
    await page.goto('')
    # Click the "About" link
    about_link = await page.waitForXPath('//a[.="About"]')
    # Wait one second for the page to finish loading
    await page.waitFor(1_000)
    # Implicitly assert that the page contains the text "Open Source" somewhere
    assert await page.waitForXPath('//div[contains(.,"Open Source")]') 
  • The @pytest.mark.pyppeteer is required to distinguish your pyppeteer tests from your other unit/integration tests.
  • The async in the function definition is required because pyppeteer uses async/await to drive page actions.
  • The page fixture is a Pyppeteer Page instance. This is what you will use to interact with the browser.

Because of its special environmental requirements, by default pyppeteer tests will not run when simply invoking tox. To run this test, you will need to call out pyppeteer explicitly:

tox -e test-pyppeteer

If you want to see the browser to confirm that it's doing what it says it's doing, run with the PYPPETEER_BROWSER_HEADLESS environment variable set to False:

PYPPETEER_BROWSER_HEADLESS=0 tox -e test-pyppeteer

Testing your app

Now that we have confirmed pyppeteer is working, lets plug in the fronted. It should be as simple as:

import pytest

async def test_homepage(page, webpack_server):
    # Navigate to the webpack server
    await page.goto(webpack_server)
    # Wait for any JS to run
    await page.waitFor(5_000)
    # Take a screenshot
    await page.screenshot({'path': 'test_screenshot.png'})

Behind the scenes, the webpack_server fixture invokes the PYPPETEER_TEST_CLIENT_COMMAND you specified in your tox.ini in a background process to serve your web app. You may notice that pyppeteer tests hang for a few seconds before tests begin to execute. This is because the dev server takes a few moments to spin up.

To your test method, webpack_server is simply a string URL pointing to the dev server. To use it, simply navigate your page there.

When you run this test, you should see a test_screenshot.png appear in your project root. (Note that running with PYPPETEER_BROWSER_HEADLESS=0 is generally a much better debugging tool, though.)

Handling logins

We now have a website to test and a browser to test it with, but there is one more snag you will probably encounter: logins. Girder 4 apps generally use oauth2_provider to handle logins, where the web server delegates to the API server to arbitrate the login process. For oauth2_provider, this means you need an OAuth Application model saved in the database which is configured for your specific frontend. Also, different applications have different login UX: OAuth2 providers are different, buttons are different, and signup policies are different. Furthermore, you may want to test different users being logged in to different browsers at different times and in different ways.

There is no general solution to this problem, but girder-pytest-pyppeteer does provide some tools to help you solve it yourself.

  • The oauth_application fixture - Saves an OAuth2 Application into the DB that is configured to work with the webpack_server.
  • The page_login fixture - A function which saves a cookie into the page fixture that tricks the test API server (a fixture called live_server) into thinking the given user is already logged in via the oauth_application fixture.

With page_login, you can easily skip the API half of the OAuth2 workflow. Without it, you would need to set up users with passwords, and then write some pyppeteer code that manually types the user's login information into the browser. However, note that the frontend still doesn't know that the user has already authenticated with the API server. This sample code illustrates one way around the problem:

import pytest

def log_in(webpack_server, page, page_login):
    """Log the given user into the page."""
    # Return a helper that can be used to log in any given User
    async def _log_in(user):
        # Invoke the page_login fixture
        await page_login(page, user)
        # The API server now thinks that the user has already logged in using the browser.
        # Navigate to the dev server
        await page.goto(webpack_server)
        # Find the login button
        login_button = await page.waitForXPath('//button[contains(., "Login")]')
        # Click it
        # Clicking login should redirect the browser to the API server,
        # which sees the cookie set by `page_login` and redirects the browser back to the dev server,
        # with some URL parameters containing the OAuth2 session token.
        # After all this navigation resolves (asynchronously), the browser should be logged in.
        return page

    return _log_in

async def test_pyppeteer(page, log_in, user, webpack_server):
    await log_in(user)
    # Assert that the page contains the welcome message for logged in users
    # This has the side effect of waiting for the redirects to finish resolving
    assert await page.watForXPath(f'//div[.="Welcome, {}!"]')

Running your tests in CI

At this point, you have everything you need to write a test and to run it locally. The last step is to run your tests in CI next to your regular workflow. This can be easily accomplished using the GitHub Action.

Since pyppeteer tests serve an adjacent purpose to the rest of your pytests, I recommend setting up a separate job to run them rather than simply running them before/after the rest of the tox suite. This unfortunately means that much of the backing service configuration needs to be copy/pasted.

Here is an example GitHub workflow:

name: ci
  ... default values ...
    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
      - uses: actions/checkout@v2
      - name: Set up Python
        uses: actions/setup-python@v2
          python-version: "3.9"
      - name: Install tox
        run: |
          pip install --upgrade pip
          pip install tox
      - name: Run tests
        run: |
        working-directory: test-app
          DJANGO_DATABASE_URL: postgres://postgres:postgres@localhost:5432/django
          DJANGO_MINIO_STORAGE_ENDPOINT: localhost:9000
    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
        ... same as above ...
        ... same as above ...
        ... same as above ...
      - uses: actions/checkout@v2
      - name: Run tests
        uses: docker://
          install_directory: test-client
          install_command: yarn install
          test_directory: test-app
          test_command: tox -e test-pyppeteer
          DJANGO_DATABASE_URL: postgres://postgres:postgres@postgres:5432/django
          DJANGO_STORAGE_BUCKET_NAME: integration-test-bucket

You will need to set the values of install_directory, install_command, test_directory, and test_command appropriately for your repository.