Add unit tests to a collection

This section describes all of the steps needed to add unit tests to a collection and how to run them locally using the ansible-test command.

See Unit Testing Ansible Modules for more details.

Understanding the purpose of unit tests

Unit tests ensure that a section of code (known as a unit) meets its design requirements and behaves as intended. Some collections do not have unit tests but it does not mean they are not needed.

A unit is a function or method of a class used in a module or plugin. Unit tests verify that a function with a certain input returns the expected output.

Unit tests should also verify when a function raises or handles exceptions.

Ansible uses pytest as a testing framework.

See Unit Testing Ansible Modules for complete details.

Inclusion in the Ansible package requires integration and/or unit tests You should have tests for your collection as well as for individual modules and plugins to make your code more reliable To learn how to get started with integration tests, see Adding integration tests to a collection.

See Prepare your environment to prepare your environment.

Determine if unit tests exist

Ansible collection unit tests are located in the tests/units directory.

The structure of the unit tests matches the structure of the code base, so the tests can reside in the tests/units/plugins/modules/ and tests/units/plugins/module_utils directories. There can be sub-directories if modules are organized by module groups.

If you are adding unit tests for my_module for example, check to see if the tests already exist in the collection source tree with the path tests/units/plugins/modules/

Example of unit tests

Let’s assume that the following function is in my_module :

def convert_to_supported(val):
    """Convert unsupported types to appropriate."""
    if isinstance(val, decimal.Decimal):
        return float(val)

    if isinstance(val, datetime.timedelta):
        return str(val)

    if val == 42:
        raise ValueError("This number is just too cool for us ;)")

    return val

Unit tests for this function should, at a minimum, check the following:

  • If the function gets a Decimal argument, it returns a corresponding float value.

  • If the function gets a timedelta argument, it returns a corresponding str value.

  • If the function gets 42 as an argument, it raises a ValueError.

  • If the function gets an argument of any other type, it does nothing and returns the same value.

To write these unit tests in collection is called community.mycollection:

  1. If you already have your local environment prepared, go to the collection root directory.

cd ~/ansible_collection/community/mycollection
  1. Create a test file for my_module. If the path does not exist, create it.

    touch tests/units/plugins/modules/
  2. Add the following code to the file:

# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-

from __future__ import (absolute_import, division, print_function)
__metaclass__ = type

from datetime import timedelta
from decimal import Decimal

import pytest

from import (

# We use the @pytest.mark.parametrize decorator to parametrize the function
# Simply put, the first element of each tuple will be passed to
# the test_convert_to_supported function as the test_input argument
# and the second element of each tuple will be passed as
# the expected argument.
# In the function's body, we use the assert statement to check
# if the convert_to_supported function given the test_input,
# returns what we expect.
@pytest.mark.parametrize('test_input, expected', [
    (timedelta(0, 43200), '12:00:00'),
    (Decimal('1.01'), 1.01),
    ('string', 'string'),
    (None, None),
    (1, 1),
def test_convert_to_supported(test_input, expected):
    assert convert_to_supported(test_input) == expected

def test_convert_to_supported_exception():
    with pytest.raises(ValueError, match=r"too cool"):

See Unit Testing Ansible Modules for examples on how to mock AnsibleModule objects, monkeypatch methods (module.fail_json, module.exit_json), emulate API responses, and more.

  1. Run the tests using docker:

ansible-test units tests/unit/plugins/modules/ --docker

Recommendations on coverage

Use the following tips to organize your code and test coverage:

  • Make your functions simple. Small functions that do one thing with no or minimal side effects are easier to test.

  • Test all possible behaviors of a function including exception related ones such as raising, catching and handling exceptions.

  • When a function invokes the module.fail_json method, passed messages should also be checked.

See also

Unit Testing Ansible Modules

Unit testing Ansible modules

Testing Ansible

Ansible Testing Guide

Adding integration tests to a collection

Integration testing for collections

Integration tests

Integration tests guide

Testing collections

Testing collections

Resource module integration tests

Resource module integration tests

How to test a collection PR

How to test a pull request locally