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Daniel Medina
Daniel Medina

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My findings for a pytest-django warning - Error when trying to teardown test databases


I found myself having a bit of free time on Friday the 5th so I thought it would be helpful to my team to try and decrease the amount of warnings we received after running tox and having all tests pass.

Here was my environment:

Ubuntu - 20.04 LTS
django - 3.2.8
pytest - 6.2.5
pytest-django - 4.4.0
tox - 3.24.4

Warning and Resolution

I received a very strange / obscure warning whenever test databases would be torn down. The warning in full was:

Error when trying to teardown test databases: TypeError('object.__new__() takes exactly one argument (the type to instantiate)')

I ended up resolving this warning by:

  1. Navigating to my pytest.ini file in my base directory.
  2. On the addopts line, adding two switches to the end: --reuse-db --create-db .

The final version of this line looked like this:

// some other settings
addopts = [additional options here] --reuse-db --create-db 
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The source of this warning is from pytest-django's file. It can be found here on GitHub . The function being called is teardown_database which is defined on line 126.

According to pytest-django's official documentation, using the reuse-db and create-db switches together helps isolate and recreate databases throughout tests.

--reuse-db will not pick up schema changes between test runs. You must run the tests with --reuse-db --create-db to re-create the database according to the new schema. Running without --reuse-db is also possible, since the database will automatically be re-created.

(source: pytest-django docs)

My guess is that somewhere during the tests, not all of the test databases are properly created. This would result in pytest-django trying to tear down something that isn't there. This would also explain why it is looking for an object that can't be used when it is calling teardown_database .

Finally, in my time spent searching for a solution, I found some similar pages online. While they weren't directly related to my problem and solution, they may be helpful in forming a trail of breadcrumbs towards solving a different problem:

SO - Why is pytest throwing an "Attribute Error: 'NoneType' object has no attribute..."
GitHub - Ignoring migrations during Django testing (unmanaged databases, legacy databases, etc)

References and Special Thanks

I want to specifically thank Cris Ewing for their article on Medium . I relied heavily on their troubleshooting and debugging methodology. Without their post, I would never have found a solution or experimented using ideas from the official pytest-django documentation. Thank you Cris!

I also wish to thank Stefaan Lippens for their short blog post on how to disable PyTest's default log capturing. It was very useful as I was debugging. It can be found here .


pytest-django documentation --reuse-db reuse the test database between runs
pytest-django source code

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