Testing pattern for Python run through asteval

An enterprise application I am developing for is processing my Python scripts using asteval. Without classes, imports, and other built-ins, this presents some interesting challenges for automated testing.

In my current job I can upload Python scripts to an enterprise application where the scripts are executed server-side. I didn’t realize it until after a while that the server is interpreting the Python scripts through asteval, a library developed to be a safer version of “eval.” I can guess that the developers want to reduce the risk of malicious behavior on their servers by blocking imports, classes, and other built-in methods. They did document this but I didn’t understand the full extent.

I am developing an API integration to be used server-side to communicate with a third-party API. My usual pattern is to develop a client class with standard CRUD methods, and then in my automated tests, set up mocking instances for calls to the API so that I can test my code.

The revised testing workflow runs something like this:

  1. Write a method
  2. In the automated test, get its source code using inspect.getsource()
  3. Load the source code into the asteval interpreter, and watch for errors

Workaround for a client class

I like to have the API host, base path, and request headers set up in a tidy class. The classless workaround I developed is to take a step back and write a method that returns a dictionary, like so:

def client_requests_settings():

""" Hard-coded client settings
Have to hard code settings because classes aren't allowed in asteval
Otherwise this would be a client class that could take parameters

    return {
        "endpoint": "http://some-api-server.tld/api",
        "headers": {
            "Accept": "application/json",
            "Content-Type": "application/json; charset=utf-8"

Now the pattern for an HTTP request:

def client_get(api_path):

""" Base method for gets. Always return a debug object for inspection
:param api_path: String. Something like /media , etc

    url = "{base_url}{api_path}".format(
    r = requests.get(url, headers=client_requests_settings()["headers"])
    return r.json(), {"status_code": r.status_code}

I always like to return a debug object so I can inspect what I put in to the method. It would not work to build arguments into client_requests_settings because then every encapsulating method would have to take those arguments as well and trickle them in to client_requests_settings. Unfortunately in this case, hard-coding seems like the most viable and concise method for ensuring parameters are the same across request types.

Automatically test the method with asteval

from inspect import getsource
from asteval import Interpreter, make_symbol_table

class TestMethodsThroughAsteval(TestCase):

""" Run these methods through asteval """

    # Put in a reference to the libraries that the upstream server allows
    # So I can reference 'requests' within interpret()

    syms = make_symbol_table(requests=requests, re=re, json=json)
    interpret = Interpreter(symtable=syms)

    def load_and_eval(self, source_method):
        """ Save some LOC """
        logger.debug("Putting %s through asteval" % source_method)
            self.fail("%s didn't pass asteval" % source_method)
            # Print traceback info for better error clarity

    def test_asteval_mediaflex_requests_settings(self):

        """ Run client_requests_settings through asteval """


For each method written, create a test method and test its source with load_and_eval.