How do I activate a PyTest fixture from the command line?

I'm using Python3.8 and pytest. How can I activate a fixture for my session based on some command line specification? Right now I have a tests/ file that includes

@pytest.fixture(name="fixture1", scope="session")
def fixture1():

@pytest.fixture(name="fixture2", scope="session")
def fixture2():

But I only want certain fixtures included in my session and I want to be able to specify that in either a pytest.ini file or via command line arguments I pass to pytest. How do I do that?

Edit: This is my use case ...

If the command line option is enabled, I'd like to depend on one fixture

def az_db_connection_fixture(az_sql_creds, wait_for_sql_server)

but if the command line isn't enabled, I'd like to depend on another fixture ...

def az_db_connection_fixture(az_sql_creds, wait_for_docker_sql_server)

1 answer

  • answered 2020-08-05 19:08 MrBean Bremen

    You can add command line flags that can be used to enable your fixtures:

    def pytest_addoption(parser):
        parser.addoption('--option2', action='store_const', const=True)
        parser.addoption('--option2', action='store_const', const=True)

    Than you have to check for these arguments in your fixture:

    @pytest.fixture(name="fixture1", scope="session", autouse=True)
    def fixture1(request):
       # only use with option1 command line argument
       if request.config.getoption("--option1"):
    @pytest.fixture(name="fixture2", scope="session", autouse=True)
    def fixture2(request):
       # only use with option2 command line argument
       if request.config.getoption("--option2"):
    @pytest.fixture(name="fixture3", scope="session", autouse=True)
    def fixture3(request):
       # only use if option1 command line argument is not provided
       if not request.config.getoption("--option1"):

    I used autouse=True here as I expect that the fixtures execute different setup code, your usage may vary of course.

    You are now able to call:

    • pytest -> no fixture will be applied
    • pytest --option1 -> fixture1 will be applied
    • pytest --option1 --option2 -> both fixtures will be applied

    You can also add these arguments to your pytest.ini:

    # always apply fixture2
    addopts = --option2

    As for the followup question about the inherited fixture, you can do something like this:

    def wait_for_sql_server(request):
       if request.config.getoption("--my_option"):
    def wait_for_docker(request):
       if not request.config.getoption("--my_option"):
    def az_db_connection_fixture(
        az_sql_creds, wait_for_sql_server, wait_for_docker):

    If you are not able to write or adapt the base fixtures (wait_for_ in the EDIT part of the question) yourself, you can go a slighly other way.

    You can write separate implementations of your base fixture in separate plugins, and load the needed plugin based on the configuration:

    def wait_for_service(wait_for_docker):

    def wait_for_service(wait_for_sql_server):

    def pytest_addoption(parser):
        parser.addoption('--docker', action='store_const', const=True)
    def pytest_configure(config):    
        use_docker = config.getoption("--docker")
        plugin_name = 'plugin_docker' if use_docker else 'plugin_server'
        if not config.pluginmanager.has_plugin(plugin_name):
    def az_db_connection_fixture(az_sql_creds, wait_for_service):

    The wait_for_service fixtures are just a wrapper around the actual fixtures, but this way you can derive from the same fixture in both scenarios.