How to write Unit Tests in Django Rest Framework

Unit testing is a cornerstone of software development that ensures the reliability and correctness of your codebase. When it comes to Django Rest Framework (DRF), unit testing plays a vital role in maintaining the quality of your API-driven applications. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the world of unit testing in DRF and explore how to effectively test your API endpoints.

How to write Unit Testing Cases in DRF

A test case is a scenario or situation designed to verify that a specific aspect of a software program functions correctly.

Step 1: Set Up Your DRF Project

  1. Create a new Django project or use an existing one with DRF integrated.
  2. Make sure you have your models, views, serializers, and URL configurations set up.

Check our Django Rest Framework (DRF) Basic Template Boilerplate Skeleton Project

Step 2: Understanding Unit Testing

  1. Unit tests focus on testing individual components or functions in isolation.
  2. In the context of DRF, this involves testing serializers, views, and helper functions separately.

Step 3: Writing Your First Unit Test

Create a test file, e.g.,, in your app’s directory and import necessary modules:

from rest_framework.test import APITestCase
from rest_framework import status
from .models import YourModel

Write a test class that inherits from APITestCase:

class YourModelAPITest(APITestCase):
    def test_create_object(self):
        response ='/api/your-model/', {'name': 'Test Object'})
        self.assertEqual(response.status_code, status.HTTP_201_CREATED)

Run your tests using:

python test your_app.tests

Step 4: Testing Serializers

Test your serializers by creating instances and validating data:

def test_serializer_valid(self):
    data = {'name': 'Test Serializer'}
    serializer = YourModelSerializer(data=data)

Step 5: Testing Views

Test your API views by simulating requests and checking responses:

def test_list_view(self):
    response = self.client.get('/api/your-model/')
    self.assertEqual(response.status_code, status.HTTP_200_OK)

Step 6: Utilizing Test Fixtures

  1. Use fixtures to set up predefined data for your tests.
  2. Create fixture files (e.g., your_model_fixture.json) and load them in your tests.

You can learn about fixture in our Blog on Provide Initial Default Data for Models in Django with Examples

Step 7: Edge Cases and Assertions

  1. Test edge cases, invalid input, and error handling to ensure robustness.
  2. Utilize assertions like assertRaises to validate exception handling.

Step 8: Continuous Integration and Testing

  1. Incorporate unit testing into your CI/CD pipeline for consistent quality checks.
  2. Use tools like Jenkins, Travis CI, or GitHub Actions for automated testing.


Unit testing in Django Rest Framework is an essential practice to maintain code quality and ensure the reliability of your API-driven applications. By following this guide, you’ve gained insights into the fundamentals of unit testing in DRF, from writing your first test to exploring advanced techniques. As you build and evolve your DRF projects, incorporating thorough unit testing will contribute to a stable and dependable codebase that can withstand the challenges of real-world scenarios.

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