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This app aims to provide a simple way of loading masses of randomly generated
test data into your development database. You can use a management command to
load test data through command line.

It is named *autofixture* because of the similarity of how I mainly used
django's fixtures. Usually you add test data through the admin to see how your
site looks with non static pages. You export data by using ``dumpdata`` to
send it to your colleagues or to preserve it before you make a ``
reset app`` and so on. Your site gets more and more complex and adding test
data gets more and more annoying.

This is the usecase where autofixtures should help you to save time that can
actually be spent on hacking.


You must make the ``autofixture`` package available on your python path.
Either drop it into your project directory or install it from the python
package index with ``pip install django-autofixture``. You can also use
``easy_install django-autofixture`` if you don't have pip available.

To use the management command you must add ``'autofixture'`` to the
``INSTALLED_APPS`` setting in your django settings file. You don't need to do
this if you want to use the ``autofixture`` package only as library.

Management command

The ``loadtestdata`` accepts the following syntax:: loadtestdata [options] app.Model:# [app.Model:# ...]

Its nearly self explanatory. Supply names of models, prefixed with its app
name. After that, place a colon and tell the command how many objects you want
to create. Here is an example how to create three categories and twenty
entries for you blogging app:: loadtestdata blog.Category:3 blog.Entry:20

Voila! You have ready to use testing data populated to your database. The
model fields are filled with data by producing randomly generated values
depending on the type of the field. E.g. text fields are filled with lorem
ipsum dummies, date fields are populated with random dates from the last
years etc.

There are a few command line options available. Mainly to control the
behavior of related fields. If foreingkey or many to many fields should be
populated with existing data or if the related models are also generated on
the fly. Please have a look at the help page of the command for more
information:: help loadtestdata

Using autofixtures as tool for unittests

It has proofed that autofixtures have a great use for unittests. It has always
bugged me that creating complex models for testing their behaviour was
complicated. Sometimes models have strict restrictions or many related objects
which they depend on. One solution would be to use traditional fixtures
dumped from your production database. But while in development when database
schemes are changing frequently, its hard to maintain all fixtures and to know
exactly which objects are contained in the dumps etc...

Autofixtures to the rescue! It lets you automatically generate models and all
of their dependecies on the fly. Have a look at the following examples.

Lets start with the very basics. We create an ``AutoFixture`` instance for the
``Entry`` model and tell it to create ten model instances::

    from autofixture import AutoFixture
    fixture = AutoFixture(Entry)
    entries = fixture.create(10)

Now you can play around and test your blog entries. By default dependecies of
foreignkeys and many to many relations are solved by randomly selecting an
already existing object of the related model. What if you don't have one yet?
You can provide the ``generate_fk`` attribute which allows the autofixture
instance to follow foreignkeys by generating new related models::

    fixture = AutoFixture(Entry, generate_fk=True)

This generates new instance for *all* foreignkey fields of ``Entry``. Its
possible to limit this behaviour to single fields::

    fixture = AutoFixture(Entry, generate_fk=['author'])

This will only create new authors automatically and doesn't touch other
tables. The same is possible with many to many fields. But you need
additionally specify how many objects should be created for the m2m relation::

    fixture = AutoFixture(Entry, generate_m2m={'categories': (1,3)})

All created entry models get one to three new categories assigned.

Setting custom values for fields

However its often necessary to be sure that a specific field must have a
specific value. This is easily achieved with the ``field_values`` attribute of

    fixture = AutoFixture(Entry,
        field_values={'pub_date': datetime(2010, 2, 1)})


There is so much more to explore which might be useful for you and your

* There are ways to register custom ``AutoFixture`` subclasses with models
  that are automatically used when calling ``loadtestdata`` on the model.
* More control for related models, even with relations of related models...
  (e.g. by using ``generate_fk=['author', 'author__user']``)
* Custom constraints that are used to ensure that created the models are
  valid (e.g. ``unique`` and ``unique_together`` constraints which are
  already handled by default)

I hope to explain this in the future with more details in a documentation. It
will be written but is not finished yet. I wanted to get this project out to
support you in development. But since its only python code you can easily
study the source on your own and see in which ways it can be used. There are
already some parts documented with doc strings which might also be helpful for you.

Future development

The ``autofixture`` app is nearly feature complete from the point I wanted to
have while starting development. But there is still much room for
improvements. One feature you can expect in the future is for example support
for multiple databases which was introduced by django 1.2. If you have any
ideas or interests to contribute: Feel free to contact me or just start

Email me (gregor at muellegger dot de), contact me on twitter
(@gregmuellegger) or branch the bazaar repository on launchpad (``bzr branch

Happy autofixturing!
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