Mocking HTTP calls in Python tests

There are at least a few decent libraries out there for mocking out HTTP calls in Python unit tests. The best solution looks like HTTPretty. One feature that it does not have, however, is the ability to specify url parameters. For many applications, such as testing OAuth flows, a lot of the behavior you are trying to validate involves parameters being passed. At the same time, you don’t want to be forced to specify all the parameters. For example, the oauth_timestamp changes for every REST call; it’s dynamic based on the system clock.

Here is a quick class that can mock urllib2 requests, and lets you specify some parameters that you want to validate are being passed. Any parametes that you don’t specify are allowed.

import urllib2
from StringIO import StringIO
import json
import httplib
import urlparse
import urllib

class MockHTTPHandler(urllib2.HTTPSHandler):

def __init__(self):
self.requests = {}
self.responses = {}
self.calls_made = []

def hash_args(args):
''' takes an args dict and makes a hashable key, normalizing order '''
return urllib.urlencode(args)

def mock(self, url, validate_args={}, status_code=200, *args, **kwargs):
data = kwargs.get('data')
if data is None:
fixture = kwargs.get('fixture')
if fixture:
data = open(fixture).read()
if data is None:
json_data = kwargs.get('json_data')
if json_data is not None:
data = json.dumps(json_data)
if data is None:
raise ValueError('must pass either data or fixture argument')
if url not in self.responses:
self.responses[url] = {}
self.responses[url][MockHTTPHandler.hash_args(validate_args)] = (status_code, data)

def https_open(self, req):
return self.http_open(req)

def http_open(self, req):
url_with_args = req.get_full_url()
parsed = urlparse.urlparse(url_with_args)
url = url_with_args.replace('?' + parsed.query, '')
actual_args = urlparse.parse_qs(parsed.query)
if url in self.responses:
for args_qs, (status_code, data) in self.responses.get(url).items():
# check if this request matches all the args in a registered call
expected_args = urlparse.parse_qs(args_qs)
if not all(item in actual_args.items() for item in expected_args.items()):
resp = urllib2.addinfourl(StringIO(data), {}, req.get_full_url())
resp.code = status_code
resp.msg = httplib.responses.get(status_code, 'OK')
self.calls_made.append(url + '?' + args_qs)
return resp
raise NotImplementedError('need to mock url %s' % req.get_full_url())

def assert_all_called(self, test):
calls_expected = []
for url in self.responses:
for args_qs in self.responses.get(url):
calls_expected.append(url + '?' + args_qs)
test.assertEquals(set(calls_expected), set(self.calls_made))

def patch():
opener = urllib2.build_opener(MockHTTPHandler)
return [h for h in opener.handlers if isinstance(h, MockHTTPHandler)][0]

def unpatch():
urllib2._opener = None

You can enable this mock in your unit tests as follows. Note the call to unpatch() to remove the mock. Without this, other tests in your test suite may fail if they try to make a HTTP call.

import unittest

class TwitterOAuthCallsTest(unittest.TestCase):
def setUp(self):
self.requests = MockHTTPHandler.patch()

def tearDown(self):

def test_http_request(self):

# you can specify json results directly
self.requests.mock('', {
'screen_name': 'foobar',
'oauth_token': 'BAR',
'oauth_consumer_key': 'dsafsdfdsfsdf'},
"ids": [
"next_cursor": 0,
"next_cursor_str": "0",
"previous_cursor": 0,
"previous_cursor_str": "0"

# you can also specify json via an external file
self.requests.mock('', {
'user_id': '38596298,30516966,14399709'},


# test that all the urls you registered were called