Are you planning to use PythonAnywhere to follow along with this book? Here’s a few notes on how to get things working, specifically with regards to Selenium/Firefox tests, running the test server, and screenshots.
If you haven’t already, you’ll need to sign up for a PythonAnywhere account. A free one should be fine.
The next thing is that PythonAnywhere is a console-only environment, so it doesn’t have a display in which to pop up Firefox. But we can use a virtual display.
But when you try and run it (in a Bash console), you’ll get an error:
$ python3 functional_tests.py Traceback (most recent call last): File "tests.py", line 3, in <module> browser = webdriver.Firefox() File "/usr/local/lib/python3.3/site-packages/selenium/webdriver/firefox/webdrive self.binary, timeout), File "/usr/local/lib/python3.3/site-packages/selenium/webdriver/firefox/extensio self.binary.launch_browser(self.profile) File "/usr/local/lib/python3.3/site-packages/selenium/webdriver/firefox/firefox_ self._wait_until_connectable() File "/usr/local/lib/python3.3/site-packages/selenium/webdriver/firefox/firefox_ self._get_firefox_output()) selenium.common.exceptions.WebDriverException: Message: 'The browser appears to have exited before we could connect. The output was: Error: no display specified\n'
If, instead, you see "
ImportError, no module named selenium“, do a
pip3 install --user selenium.
xvfb-run will run the next command in Xvfb. Using that will give
us our expected failure:
$ xvfb-run python3 functional_tests.py Traceback (most recent call last): File "tests.py", line 11, in <module> assert 'Django' in browser.title AssertionError
Shortly after that, we set up Django. Rather than using the
django-admin.py startproject command, I recommend you use the PythonAnywhere
quick-start option in the Web tab. Add a new web app, choose Django,
Python 3, and then use superlists as the project name.
Then, instead of running the test server from a console on
you can use the real URL of your PythonAnywhere web app:
You’ll need to remember to hit “Reload Web App” whenever you make changes to the code, to update the site.
That should work better.
Selenium and Xvfb tend to leave a lot of junk lying around in /tmp,
especially when they’re not shut down tidily (that’s why I included
In fact they leave so much stuff lying around that they might max out your storage quota. So do a tidy-up in /tmp every so often:
$ rm -rf /tmp/*
In Chapter 5, I suggest using a
time.sleep to pause the FT as
it runs, so that we can see what the Selenium browser is showing on screen. We
can’t do that on PythonAnywhere, because the browser runs in a virtual display.
Instead, you can inspect the live site, or you could “take my word for it”
regarding what you should see.
The best way of doing visual inspections of tests that run in a virtual display is to use screenshots. Take a look at Chapter 20 if you’re curious—there’s some example code in there.
When you hit Chapter 8, you’ll have the choice of continuing to use PythonAnywhere, or of learning how to build a “real” server. I recommend the latter, because you’ll get the most out of it.
If you really want to stick with PythonAnywhere, one option would be deploy
a second copy of your app on a different domain. You’ll need your own domain
name, and a paid account on PythonAnywhere. But even if you don’t do that,
you should still make sure you can run the FTs in “staging” mode against the
real site, rather than using the threaded server from
If you are using PythonAnywhere to follow through with the book, I’d love to hear how you get on! Do send me an email at email@example.com.
 You could run the Django dev server from a console instead, but the problem is that PythonAnywhere consoles don’t always run on the same server, so there’s no guarantee that the console you’re running your tests in is the same as the one you’re running the server in. Plus, when it’s running in the console, there’s no easy way of visually inspecting how the site looks.