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The "Books" API app - building an API testing framework in Python

Disclaimer: This app is intended as a practice app for a testing workshop, so I took some shortcuts. ;-)

Setup & installation

If you run into any issues with the steps below, please let me know at

Python and VirtualEnv

  • Install Python 3.6 or higher
  • Install virtualenv. Virtualenv allows you to create an isolated Python environment, with full control over which Python version to use and which Python packages to install.
    • If you have only Python 3 installed: pip install --user virtualenv.
    • If you have Python 2 and Python 3 installed (likely if you use mac or linux), run pip3 install --user virtualenv instead.
    • If you need to figure out what you have installed, you can run python --version and/or python3 --version from the command line.

Download this repo

  • Download this repository by clicking the green Code button at the top (make sure you update to the latest version right before the workshop) and unzip it. Or if you're familiar with git, fork this repository.

Create and activate a Python virtual environment

We will be using this virtual environment both for running the test app, and for running the code your write during the exercises.

  • Open a terminal and go into the directory containing the repository files. Important: all commands in this README assume you are in this directory.
  • Create a virtual python environment
    • Note that this will create the virtual environment in the current directory, so double-check you are in the directory containing the files from the repository.
    • If you have only Python 3 installed: python -m virtualenv venv.
    • If you have both Python 2.7 and Python 3 installed: python3 -m virtualenv -p python3 venv.
  • Activate the virtualenv (linux, mac: source venv/bin/activate) or (win: venv\Scripts\activate)
    • Note that once the virtual environment is active, python and pip will be the Python 3 versions, since that is how we set up the virtual environment. So for the rest of the instructions it doesn't matter if you also have Python 2 installed, since we run everything in our virtual Python 3 environment.
  • Once you're done with the virtual environment (i.e. no longer want to play around with the code and the exercises), type deactivate to deactivate it. Or close the terminal in which the virtual environment runs.

Install the required libraries

Important: perform the steps below with your virtual environment activated.

  • Open the requirements.txt and uncomment either the gunicorn or waitress line depending on your OS
  • Install requirements.txt (pip install -r requirements.txt)

Running the app

Important: perform the steps below with your virtual environment activated.

  • linux, mac: gunicorn or win: waitress-serve --port=8000
  • smoke test by using your browser to go to localhost:8000/knockknock
  • the easiest way to restart the app is to kill the process (ctrl/cmd+c) and start it again


If you have Docker installed, you can also run the app in a Docker container:

  • build: docker build -f api_app/Dockerfile -t api-app .
  • run: docker run -p 80:80 api-app
  • smoke test by using your browser to go to localhost:80/knockknock

Advanced text editor

Exercises (./exercises)

See ./exercises/ for more information about the exercises.

Reference materials

Extras (./extras)

This directory contains:

  • next steps to extend the framework
  • the same test implemented using different tools, e.g. behave and tavern
  • a with further details

Further reading

More Pytest

More Python



Learn to build an API testing framework in Python







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