Advanced E: Python Unit Tests


This tutorial assumes you followed the Core Training.

To do the exercise, fetch the branch2.0-core from the repository XXX. It contains a basic module we will use as a starting point

Reference: Flectra’s Test Framework: Learn Best Practices (Flectra Experience 2020) on Youtube.

Writing tests is a necessity for multiple reasons. Here is a non exhaustive list:

  • Ensure it will not be broken in the future

  • Define the scope of your code

  • Give examples of use cases

  • It is one way to technically document the code

  • Help you develop by defining your goal before working towards it

Running Tests

Before knowing how to write tests, we need to know how to run them.

$ flectra-bin -h
Usage: flectra-bin [options]

--version             show program's version number and exit
-h, --help            show this help message and exit


Testing Configuration:
                      Launch a python test file.
  --test-enable       Enable unit tests.
                      Comma-separated list of spec to filter which tests to
                      execute. Enable unit tests if set.
                      A filter spec has the format:
                      The '-' specifies if we want to include or exclude
                      tests matching this spec.                          The
                      tag will match tags added on a class with a @tagged
                      decorator. By default tag value is 'standard' when not
                      given on include mode. '*' will match all tags. Tag
                      will also match module name (deprecated, use /module)
                      The module, class, and method will respectively match
                      the module name, test class name and test method name.
                      examples: :TestClass.test_func,/test_module,external
  --screencasts=DIR   Screencasts will go in DIR/{db_name}/screencasts.
  --screenshots=DIR   Screenshots will go in DIR/{db_name}/screenshots.
                      Defaults to /tmp/flectra_tests.

$ # run all the tests of account, and modules installed by account
$ # the dependencies already installed are not tested
$ # this takes some time because you need to install the modules, but at_install
$ # and post_install are respected
$ flectra-bin -i account --test-enable
$ # run all the tests in this file
$ flectra-bin --test-file=addons/account/tests/
$ # test tags can help you filter quite easily
$ flectra-bin --test-tags=/account:TestAccountMove.test_custom_currency_on_account_1

Integration Bots


This section is only for Flectra employees and people that are contributing to We highly recommend having your own CI if it is not the case.

When a test is written, it is important to make sure it always passes when modifications are applied to the source code. To automatize this task, we use a development practice called Continuous Integration (CI). This is why we have some bots running all the tests at different moments. Whether you are working at Flectra or not, if you are trying to merge something inside flectra/flectra, flectra/Professional, flectra/upgrade or on, you will have to go through the CI. If you are working on another project, you should think of adding your own CI.


Reference: the documentation related to this topic can be found in Runbot FAQ.

Most of the tests are run on Runbot every time a commit is pushed on GitHub.

You can see the state of a commit/branch by filtering on the runbot dashboard.

A bundle is created for each branch. A bundle consists of a configuration and contains the batches.

A batch is a set of builds, depending on the parameters of the bundle. A batch is green (i.e. passes the tests) if all the builds are green.

A build is when we launch a server. It can be divided in sub-builds. Usually there are builds for the community version, the Professional version (only if there is an Professional branch but you can force the build), and the migration of the branch. A build is green if every sub-build is green.

A sub-build only does some parts of what a full build does. It is used to speed up the CI process. Generally it is used to split the post install tests in 4 parallel instances. A sub-build is green if all the tests are passing and there are no errors/warnings logged.


  • All tests are run whatever the modifications done. Correcting a typo in an error message or refactoring a whole module triggers the same tests. It will install all the modules. This means something might not work if Runbot green but your changes depend on something you don’t depend on.

  • The localization modules (i.e. country-specific modules) are not installed on Runbot (except the generic one), some modules with external dependencies can be excluded also.

  • There is a download build running additional tests, like module operations, localization, single module installs, multi-builds for nondeterministic bugs, etc. These are not kept in the standard CI to shorten the time of execution.

You can also login on a build built by Runbot. There are 3 users usable: admin, demo and portal. The password is the same as the login. This is useful to quickly test things on different versions without having to build it locally. The full logs are also available; these are used for monitoring.


You will most likely have to gain a little bit more experience before having the rights to summon robflectra, but here are a few remarks anyways.

Robflectra is the guy spamming the CI status as tags on your PRs, but he is also the guy that kindly integrates your commits on the main repositories.

When the last batch is green, the reviewer can ask robflectra to merge your PR (actually it is more a rebase than a merge). It will then go to the mergebot.


Mergebot is the last testing phase before merging a PR.

It will take the commits in your branch not yet present on the target, stage it and rerun the tests one more time, including the Professional version even if you are only changing something in community.

This step can fail with a Staging failed error message. This could be due to

  • a nondeterministic bug that is already on the target. If you are an Flectra employee, you can check those here:

  • a nondeterministic bug that you introduced but wasn’t detected in the CI before

  • an incompatibility with another commit merged right before and what you are trying to merge

  • an incompatibility with the Professional repository if you only did changes in the community repo

Always check that the issue does not come from you before asking the merge bot to retry: rebase your branch on the target and rerun the tests locally.


Because Flectra is modular, the tests need to be modular also. This means the modules are defined in the module that adds the functionality you add; and that tests cannot depend on functionality coming from modules your module doesn’t depend on.

Reference: the documentation related to this topic can be found in Special Tags.

from flectra.tests.common import SavepointCase
from flectra.tests import tagged

# The CI will run these tests after all the modules are installed,
# not right after installing the one defining it.
@tagged('post_install', '-at_install')  # add `post_install` and remove `at_install`
class PostInstallTestCase(SavepointCase):
    def test_01(self):

@tagged('at_install')  # this is the default
class AtInstallTestCase(SavepointCase):
    def test_01(self):

If the behavior you want to test can be changed by the installation of another module, you need to ensure that the tag at_install is set; otherwise you can use the tag post_install to speed up the CI, and ensure it is not changed if it shouldn’t.

Writing a test

Reference: the documentation related to this topic can be found in Python unittest. and Testing Flectra.

Here are a few things to take into consideration before writing a test

  • The tests should be independent from the data currently in the database (including demo data)

  • Tests should not impact the database by leaving/changing residual data. This is usually done by the test framework by doing a rollback. This is why you must never call cr.commit in a test (nor anywhere else in the business code).

  • For a bug fix, the test should fail before applying the fix and pass after.

  • Don’t test something that is already tested elsewhere; you can trust the ORM. Most of the tests in business modules should only test the business flows.

  • You shouldn’t need to flush data into the database.


Remember that onchange only applies in the Form views, not by changing the attributes in python. This also applies in the tests. If you want to emulate a Form view, you can use flectra.tests.common.Form.

The tests should be located in a tests folder in the root of your module. Each test file name should start with test_ and be imported in the of the test folder. You shouldn’t import the test folder/module in the of the module.

├── models
│   ├── *.py
│   └──
├── tests
│   ├── test_*.py
│   └──


Some older tests are extending flectra.tests.common.TransactionCase, but they are less scalable. The difference is that the setup is done per test method and not per test class. The data changed are rollbacked between each test in SavepointCase to have the same behavior as in TransactionCase.

All the tests should extend flectra.tests.common.SavepointCase. You usually define a setUpClass, and the tests. After doing the setUpClass, you have an env available on the class and can start interacting with the ORM.

These test classes are built on top of the unittest python module.

from flectra.tests.common import SavepointCase
from flectra.exceptions import UserError
from flectra.tests import tagged

# The CI will run these tests after all the modules are installed,
# not right after installing the one defining it.
@tagged('post_install', '-at_install')
class EstateTestCase(SavepointCase):

    def setUpClass(cls):
        # add env on cls and many other things
        super(EstateTestCase, cls).setUpClass()

        # create the data for each tests. By doing it in the setUpClass instead
        # of in a setUp or in each test case, we reduce the testing time and
        # the duplication of code. = cls.env[''].create([...])

    def test_creation_area(self):
        """Test that the total_area is computed like it should.""" = 20
        self.assertRecordValues(, [
           {'name': ..., 'total_area': ...},
           {'name': ..., 'total_area': ...},

    def test_action_sell(self):
        """Test that everything behaves like it should when selling a property."""
        self.assertRecordValues(, [
           {'name': ..., 'state': ...},
           {'name': ..., 'state': ...},

        with self.assertRaises(UserError):


For more readability, split your tests into multiple files depending on the scope of the tests. You can also have a Common class that most of the tests should inherit from; that common class can define the whole set up for the module. For instance in account.


Ensure no one can create an offer for a sold Property, and create a test for it.


Someone keeps breaking the reset of Garden Area and Orientation when you uncheck the Garden checkbox. Make sure it doesn’t happen again.


Tip: remember the note about Form a little bit above.