Testing behaviors

How to write unit tests for behaviors

Behaviors, like any other code, should be tested. If you are writing a behavior with just a marker interface or schema interface, it is probably not necessary to test the interface. However, any actual code, such as a behavior adapter factory, ought to be tested.

Writing a behavior integration test is not very difficult if you are happy to depend on Dexterity in your test. You can create a dummy type by instantiating a Dexterty FTI in portal_types and enable your behavior by adding its interface name to the behaviors property.

In many cases, however, it is better not to depend on Dexterity at all. It is not too difficult to mock what Dexterity does to enable behaviors on its types. The following example is taken from collective.gtags and tests the ITags behavior we saw on the first page of this manual.


This package provides a behavior called `collective.gtags.behaviors.ITags`.
This adds a `Tags` field called `tags` to the "Categorization" fieldset, with
a behavior adapter that stores the chosen tags in the Subject metadata field.

To learn more about the `Tags` field and how it works, see `tagging.rst`.

Test setup

Before we can run these tests, we need to load the collective.gtags
configuration. This will configure the behavior.

    >>> configuration = """\
    ... <configure
    ...      xmlns="http://namespaces.zope.org/zope"
    ...      i18n_domain="collective.gtags">
    ...     <include package="Products.Five" file="meta.zcml" />
    ...     <include package="collective.gtags" file="behaviors.zcml" />
    ... </configure>
    ... """

    >>> from StringIO import StringIO
    >>> from zope.configuration import xmlconfig
    >>> xmlconfig.xmlconfig(StringIO(configuration))

This behavior can be enabled for any `IDublinCore`. For the purposes of
testing, we will use the CMFDefault Document type and a custom
IBehaviorAssignable adapter to mark the behavior as enabled.

    >>> from Products.CMFDefault.Document import Document

    >>> from plone.behavior.interfaces import IBehaviorAssignable
    >>> from collective.gtags.behaviors import ITags
    >>> from zope.component import adapts
    >>> from zope.interface import implements
    >>> class TestingAssignable(object):
    ...     implements(IBehaviorAssignable)
    ...     adapts(Document)
    ...     enabled = [ITags]
    ...     def __init__(self, context):
    ...         self.context = context
    ...     def supports(self, behavior_interface):
    ...         return behavior_interface in self.enabled
    ...     def enumerate_behaviors(self):
    ...         for e in self.enabled:
    ...             yield queryUtility(IBehavior, name=e.__identifier__)

    >>> from zope.component import provideAdapter
    >>> provideAdapter(TestingAssignable)

Behavior installation

We can now test that the behavior is installed when the ZCML for this package
is loaded.

    >>> from zope.component import getUtility
    >>> from plone.behavior.interfaces import IBehavior
    >>> tags_behavior = getUtility(IBehavior, name='collective.gtags.behaviors.ITags')
    >>> tags_behavior.interface
    <InterfaceClass collective.gtags.behaviors.ITags>

We also expect this behavior to be a form field provider. Let's verify that.

    >>> from plone.directives.form import IFormFieldProvider
    >>> IFormFieldProvider.providedBy(tags_behavior.interface)

Using the behavior

Let's create a content object that has this behavior enabled and check that
it works.

    >>> doc = Document('doc')
    >>> tags_adapter = ITags(doc, None)
    >>> tags_adapter is not None

We'll check that the `tags` set is built from the `Subject()` field:

    >>> doc.setSubject(['One', 'Two'])
    >>> doc.Subject()
    ('One', 'Two')

    >>> tags_adapter.tags == set(['One', 'Two'])

    >>> tags_adapter.tags = set(['Two', 'Three'])
    >>> doc.Subject() == ('Two', 'Three')

This test tries to prove that the behavior is correctly installed and works as intended on a suitable content class. It is not a true unit test, of course. For that, we would simply test the Tags adapter directly on a dummy context, but that is not terribly interesting, since all it does is convert sets to tuples.

First, we configure the package. To keep the test small, we limit ourselves to the behaviors.zcml file, which in this case will suffice. We still need to include a minimal set of ZCML from Five.

Next, we implement an IBehaviorAssignable*adapter. This is a low-level component used by *plone.behavior to determine if a behavior is enabled on a particular object. Dexterity provides an implementation that checks the type’s FTI. Our test version is much simpler - it hardcodes the supported behaviors.

With this in place, we first check that the IBehavior utility has been correctly registered. This is essentially a test to show that we’ve used the <plone:behavior /> directive as intended. We also verify that our schema interface is an IFormFieldsProvider. For a non-form behavior, we’d obviously omit this.

Finally, we test the behavior. We’ve chosen to use CMFDefault’s Document type for our test, as the behavior adapter requires an object providing IDublinCore. If we were less lazy, we’d write our own class and implement IDublinCore directly. However, in many cases, the types from CMFDefault are going to provide convenient test fodder.

Obviously, if our behavior was more complex, we’d add more intricate tests. By the last section of the doctest, we have enough context to test the adapter factory.

To run the test, we need a test suite. In tests.py, we have:

import doctest
import unittest
from zope.testing import doctestunit
from zope.app.testing import setup

def setUp(test):

def tearDown(test):

def test_suite():
    return unittest.TestSuite((
            setUp=setUp, tearDown=tearDown,

This runs the behaviors.rst doctest from the same directory as the tests.py file. To run the test, we can use the usual test runner:

$ ./bin/instance test -s collective.gtags

A note about marker interfaces

Note that marker interface support depends on code that is implemented in Dexterity and is non-trivial to reproduce in a test. If you need a marker interface in a test, set it manually with zope.interface.alsoProvides, or write an integration test with Dexterity content.