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.
The DEFAULT object is a pre-created sentinel (actually sentinel.DEFAULT). It can be used by side_effect functions to indicate that the normal return value should be used.
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 sentinel.some_object