Testing: Application Tests

The application test suite uses:

The application tests consist of unit tests for the Python application code and functional tests that verify the functionality of the application code from the perspective of the user through a web browser.

The functional tests use an outdated version of Firefox chosen specifically for compatibility with Selenium 2, and a rough approximation of the most recent Tor Browser.


We’re working on running the Selenium tests in Tor Browser. See GitHub #1629 for more info.


The application tests are installed automatically in the development and app-staging VMs, based on the contents of securedrop/requirements/test-requirements.txt. If you wish to change the dependencies, see Upgrading or Adding Python Dependencies.

Running the Application Tests

The tests can be run inside the development VM:

make test

Or the app-staging VM:

vagrant ssh app-staging
sudo bash
cd /var/www/securedrop
pytest -v tests
chown -R www-data /var/lib/securedrop /var/www/securedrop


The chown is necessary because running the tests as root will change ownership of some files, creating problems with the source and journalist interfaces.

For explanation of the difference between these machines, see Virtual Environments: Servers.

If you just want to run the functional tests, you can use:

securedrop/bin/dev-shell bin/run-test -v tests/functional

Similarly, if you want to run a single test, you can specify it through the file, class, and test name:

securedrop/bin/dev-shell bin/run-test \

The gnupg library can be quite verbose in its output. The default log level applied to this package is ERROR but this can be controlled via the GNUPG_LOG_LEVEL environment variable. It can have values such as INFO or DEBUG if some particular test case or test run needs greater verbosity.

Page Layout Tests

You can check the rendering of the layout of each page in each translated language using the page layout tests. These will generate screenshots of each page and can be used for example to update the SecureDrop user guides when modifications are made to the UI.

You can run all tests, including the page layout tests with the –page-layout option:

securedrop/bin/dev-shell bin/run-test --page-layout tests

Updating the Application Tests

Unit tests are stored in the securedrop/tests/ directory and functional tests are stored in the functional test directory:

├── functional
│   ├── test_admin_interface.py
│   ├── test_submit_and_retrieve_file.py
│   │               ...
│   └── submission_not_in_memory.py
├── utils
│   ├── db_helper.py
│   ├── env.py
│   └── asynchronous.py
├── test_journalist.py
├── test_source.py
│        ...
└── test_store.py

securedrop/tests/utils contains helper functions for writing tests. If you want to add a test, you should see if there is an existing file appropriate for the kind of test, e.g. a new unit testing manage.py should go in test_manage.py.