The sentinel object provides a convenient way of providing unique objects for your tests.

Attributes are created on demand when you access them by name. Accessing the same attribute will always return the same object. The objects returned have a sensible repr so that test failure messages are readable.

Changed in version 3.7: The sentinel attributes now preserve their identity when they are copied or pickled.

Sometimes when testing you need to test that a specific object is passed as an argument to another method, or returned. It can be common to create named sentinel objects to test this. sentinel provides a convenient way of creating and testing the identity of objects like this.

In this example we monkey patch method to return sentinel.some_object:

>>> real = ProductionClass()
>>> real.method = Mock(name="method")
>>> real.method.return_value = sentinel.some_object
>>> result = real.method()
>>> assert result is sentinel.some_object
>>> sentinel.some_object


Related Reading

unittest.mock — mock object library