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Writing Tests for Authenticated APIs in Django REST Framework

If you are new to Django Rest Framework and Django OAuth Toolkit and are having trouble writing automated tests for your is_authenticated APIs, you have come to the right place. The problem arises because for a token to be generated we need to first create an application and then retrieve its client_id and client_secret before sending it along with username and password for generating access_token.

Before beginning, though we’re gonna work on the following assumptions:

  • There’s a model called Books.
  • There’s a generic.ListAPIView, with URL name books:list
  • The permission on the URL is is_authenticated

Now that, that’s out of the way, we can begin the fun part.

In your file we create a class called BookListTest:

from rest_framework.test import APITestCase

class BookListTest(APITestCase):


To begin testing, we need a few things set up first, to do so we use the setUp method. Here we will, first create a test user, set up a dummy application, then create two dummy book entries, and finally define our fetch url.

class BookListTest(APITestCase):
    def setUp(self):
        # Create a Test User.
        self.test_user = User.objects.create_user('test','user','testuser', '','testpassword')
        # Set Up a Test Application
        self.application = Application(
            name = "Test Application",
            redirect_uris = "http://localhost",
            user = self.test_user,
            client_type = Application.CLIENT_CONFIDENTIAL,
            authorization_grant_type = Application.GRANT_AUTHORIZATION_CODE,
        # Create Entries in our model to fetch the list of.
        self.foo_book = Book(
            title = "foo"
            author = "bar author"
        self.bar_book = Book(
            title = "bar"
            author = "foo author"
        # URL to fetch the list of the books.
        self.fetch_url = reverse("books:list")

Everything we write in the above function is created at the beginning of every Test. Now let’s come to writing the actual test. To do that we’ll need an access_token, and will have to set the authorization header with the bearer token.

class BookListTest(APITestView):
    def setUp(self):
    def test_list_books(self):
        Ensure we can list all the books.
        # Create A Token
        tok = AccessToken.objects.create(
            user = self.test_user,
            token = '1234567890',
            application = self.application,
            scope = 'read write',
            expires = + datetime.timedelta(days=1)
        # Set Authorization Header
        auth_headers = {
            'HTTP_AUTHORIZATION': 'Bearer ' + tok.token,
        response = self.client.get(self.fetch_url, format='json', **auth_headers)
        # Make assertions
        self.assertEqual(response.status_code, status.HTTP_200_OK)

And that’s it, just run the test. But before you do that, make sure you have required imports. You will need the following imports:

  • User, Book Models
  • from django.urls, reverse
  • from django.utils, timezone
  • from oauth2_provider.models, Application and AccessToken models
  • from rest_framework, status
  • datetime
  • from rest_framework.test, APITestCase

Happy Testing.