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Matthias Noback:
A better PHP testing experience Part II Pick your test doubles wisely
July 10, 2014 @ 09:36:27

Matthias Noback has posted the second part in his look at a better PHP testing experience, focusing this time on picking test doubles wisely. Test doubles are a more general term for what most developers who test code might call a "mock".

In the introduction to this series I mentioned that testing object interactions can be really hard. Most unit testing tutorials cover this subject by introducing the PHPUnit mocking sub-framework. The word "mock" in the context of PHPUnit is given the meaning of the general concept of a "test double". In reality, a mock is a very particular kind of test double. [...] Each type of test double has its own merits and it is vital to the quality of your test suite that you know when to use which one.

He builds on the "non-assertion centric" approach he talked about in the first part and how a similar problem could be caused by the large amount of work needed to create complex mocks. He points out that having to create them in a specific way and the mocks being a bit difficult to use can make the tests fragile and easily broken. He looks at a few different kinds of test doubles (mocks, dummies, spies) with code examples for each for added clarification. He also makes two recommendations for testing instead of complex mocking: create the actual mock classes instead of just mocks and don't overuse mocking.

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Refactoring Legacy Code Part 6 - Attacking Complex Methods
June 27, 2014 @ 13:17:37

The site has posted the sixth part in their "Refactoring Legacy Code" series, this time with a focus on the more complex methods. They look at simplifying their contents and testing their various parts (better code coverage). The post is based completely on the contents of the previous five in the series, so if you haven't read up on those do that before starting.

In our previous five lessons we invested quite a lot of time in understanding our legacy system, in writing tests for whatever testable piece of code we could find. We reached a point to where we have quite a few tested methods but we still avoided the complex, hard to understand logic. It's now time for some serious coding.

The start with one of the more complex methods (roll) and work through it line-by-line to figure out what it's being given, how it's handling the data and what kinds of things it might return or modify inside. The break it down into to "parts" and figure out the right tests to write for each. With the method fully tested, they then start in on the refactor, teasing out various parts of the method into other methods and property changes. There's also a section at the end talking about pair programming and how it relates to good testing practices.

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SitePoint PHP Blog:
Mock your Test Dependencies with Mockery
June 26, 2014 @ 14:26:58

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new post today by Peter Nijssen showing how to use a library that's an alternative to the internal PHPUnit mock handling. The post shows you how to use Mockery to test your applications and abstract out any outside dependencies.

Although not everyone is doing it yet, testing your application is one of the most essential parts of being a developer. Unit tests are the most common tests to run. With unit tests, you can check if a class behaves exactly like you intended it too. Sometimes, you are using a third party service within your application and it's hard to get everything set up to get this unit tested. That's exactly when mocking comes into play.

He starts with a brief introduction to the concept of mocking before getting into his examples. He shows how to get it installed (via Composer) and how to add it as a test listener to your PHPUnit configuration file. He then gets into an actual example: mocking out an external API dependency for a weather service. He shows a simple one-method mock example as well as a more complex example using a more randomized result rather than just a static one.

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Refactoring Legacy Code Part 4 - Our First Unit Tests
May 19, 2014 @ 13:57:41 has posted the fourth part of their series guiding you through some recommended steps for refactoring legacy code. In this new post they build on the previous steps and focus more on the first steps into unit testing.

One of the key moments of refactoring a totally legacy code is when we start extracting small pieces from it and we start writing targeted unit tests for those small pieces. But this can be quite difficult, especially when you have code that is written so that it would be hard to compile or run if pieces of it are missing. We can't safely do large surgeries on a code we still barely understand and only a golden master test keeps us breaking it totally. Fortunately there are some techniques that can help us.

There's a brief introduction to unit testing and how it can be useful in a refactoring situation. They help you locate some isolated methods to start with and include a sample test (using PHPUnit). They talk about handling dependency injection, refactoring the tests themselves and working with dependencies across environments. Hints on isolating parts of the code that can be and how to refactor the tests to match are also included.

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SitePoint PHP Blog:
Unit Testing with GuzzlePHP
May 16, 2014 @ 11:56:46

The SitePoint PHP site has a new tutorial posted today showing how, if you're using the Guzzle PHP HTTP client, to work with it in your unit testing. He focuses on PHPUnit testing, but the concepts could be applied in other testing tools as well.

In this tutorial, I want to show you how to use Guzzle from a different perspective, specifically how to do unit testing with it. To do this, we're going to look at three specific approaches: hand crafting custom responses, using a ServiceClient with mock response files and enqueueing a Server with mock responses.

Matthew helps you get started by installing Guzzle and PHPUnit via Composer, including the "composer.json" contents you'll need. He shows you how to get PHPUnit all set up and how to create a first simple test that extends the "GuzzleTestCase" class. He then gets into the custom hand-crafted responses, showing how to push the contents of a text file into the client response. Next up he shows how to use the ServiceClient to create the same setup only simpler. Finally, he looks at the queue handling (via a small node.js background server) where the client passes requests and is returned the same mock body content. Code examples of both the requests and the PHPUnit tests are included through out the tutorial.

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Matthew Turland:
Customizing Codeception Database Cleanup
May 12, 2014 @ 11:15:24

If you're a Codeception user, you'll find Matthew Turland's latest post interesting. In it he shares a way to customize database cleanup between the tests. Codeception handles it a bit differently that how PHPUnit's Db module does.

Recently, I was looking into ways to speed up the runtime of the test suite at Blopboard. We use the Codeception framework to write functional tests for our REST API, part of which entails putting the database into a known state using Codeception's Db module. The behavior of this module is similar to that of the PHPUnit Database extension with one exception: where PHPUnit only truncates tables and leaves their schemas intact, Codeception removes the database structure and expects the SQL dump it uses to recreate it between tests. I must admit to not understanding this design decision of Codeception, nor attempts to clarify it.

He admits that his solution is "a bit hacky" but it does work to truncate the table rather than drop the entire schema and wait for a rebuild. His "DbHelper" class is used in place of the Db module. He traced through the execution path of the Db module and found a "hook" where he could override the "cleanup" method to prevent the schema drop and replace it with a truncate. He also includes code for a suggested addition to Codception that would handle the same thing in a more integrated way.

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Community News:
PHPUnit Announced End of Life on PEAR Installation Method
April 21, 2014 @ 10:29:53

There's a new addition to the GitHub wiki that's quite important for the PHPUnit users out there. Sebastian Bergmann has officially announced the end of life for the PEAR version of the installer for the popular PHPUnit tool.

Since PHPUnit 3.7, released in the fall of 2012, using the PEAR Installer was no longer the only installation method for PHPUnit. Today most users of PHPUnit prefer to use a PHP Archive (PHAR) of PHPUnit or Composer to download and install PHPUnit. Starting with PHPUnit 4.0 the PEAR package of PHPUnit was merely a distribution mechanism for the PHP Archive (PHAR) and many of PHPUnit's dependencies were no longer released as PEAR packages. Furthermore, the PEAR installation method has been removed from the documentation. We are taking the next step in retiring the PEAR installation method with today's release of PHPUnit 3.7.35 and PHPUnit 4.0.17.

Included in this end of life, they'll also be decommissioning to happen no later than the end of 2014.

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Test Code Coverage From Myth to Reality
March 31, 2014 @ 11:50:09

There's a good post over on the site today talking about unit testing, the myths around code coverage and why it may not be as important as you think.

Most cubicle workplaces disappeared and programmers started loving their craft. With the advent of Agile techniques and the Software Craftsmanship movement, many new tools emerged to help the programmer and the process. TDD is slowly becoming the de facto way of writing code and the secrets of SCRUM or Kanban were revealed even to the programmers in the darkest corners of the cubicle world. Automated testing and test driven development (TDD) are some of the essential techniques Agile provided to us programmers. And a tool that comes with those methodologies is used to produce test code coverage, which is the topic of this article.

The article starts with a brief definition of code coverage and gets right into an example class, PHPUnit test and the results of a code coverage generation. They show both output options, the text-only output and the full HTML output with clickable links and visualization of the covered lines of code. There's also an example of generating the coverage inside an IDE (PHPStorm). The post finishes with a look at the myths of code coverage including: "100% covered is bug free" and that "gaming the system" is pretty easy.

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Matthias Noback:
Test Symfony2 commands using the Process component and asynchronous assertions
March 24, 2014 @ 10:49:13

Matthias Noback has a new post today showing you how to test Symfony2 commands that use the Process component. More specifically, his tests revolve around the ones that use asynchronous assertions in the testing to remove weird behaviors that could be caused by multiple processes running them simultaneously.

Usually you would test a console command using the ConsoleTester class as described in the official Symfony documentation. But we can not use it in this case. We need to isolate the process in order for pcntl_fork() to work correctly, otherwise the PHPUnit test runner itself will be forked too, which will have the effect of running all the following unit tests twice (which can have very strange effects on the test results).

He shows how to use the Process component to start up a new process (the daemon) and check that the PID file exists. He includes an example of a "probe" to determine what processes are running and preventing them from stepping on each other.

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The Blog:
PHPUnit 4.0 Test Proxies
March 12, 2014 @ 10:13:08

On blog today there's another post looking at an improvement in the latest release of the popular PHP unit testing tool, PHPUnit 4.0.0. In the post Sebastian Bergmann looks at test proxies.

One of the highlights of PHPUnit 4.0, which was released last week, is improved support for integration testing through so-called test proxies. [...] PHPUnit has had built-in support for stubs and mocks for quite some time. These stubs and mocks can be used in every context where an object of the original class is expected. As it should be, the code of the original class is not executed when a method is called on the stub or mock. [...] PHPUnit 4.0 introduces the concept of test proxies [...] to have an object that provides the same API for expectations as a mock object while at the same time proxying method calls to the original class.

He includes some code examples to help illustrate. He creates a "SimpleWorkflow" class and shows how to test the execution of its "doWork" function to return the correct kind of "Result".

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