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Adam Wathan:
Preventing API Drift with Contract Tests
Feb 03, 2016 @ 12:11:21

In this post to his site Adam Wathan shares a screencast talking about changing APIs (the structure of your code, not like REST/SOAP APIs) and how "API drift" could cause problems in your testing.

One of the risks of writing your own test doubles is that the API of the double can fall out of sync with the API of the real implementation.

In this screencast I walk through an example that explains: how interfaces can provide a false sense of security, why tests make better contracts than interfaces and how to run multiple implementations against a shared set of contract tests.

You can watch the screencast either through the in-page video player or over on Vimeo directly. It's about 10 minutes long but it covers an interesting topic that could throw you if you're not careful in your testing/code changes.

tagged: screencast contract test unittest api drift interface changes

Link: http://adamwathan.me/2016/02/01/preventing-api-drift-with-contract-tests/

Taha Shashtari:
A Gentle Introduction to Testing in PHP
Feb 02, 2016 @ 10:11:20

If you're not already doing testing (like unit testing) in your PHP-based applications but want to start, this new post on Taha Shashtari's site might just be for you. It provides a "gentle introduction" to unit testing, what it is and some of the tools you can use to get started.

Learning testing can be very overwhelming especially if you're just starting out. [...] You might have read a bunch of PHPUnit tutorials and maybe you tried to apply some of what you've learned in your projects, but it doesn't always feel right. And sometimes you get into situations where you have no clue how to test some feature in your application.

If anything of this happened to you, don't feel bad, we all have had this experience. And it's almost because of the way we learn it.

He starts by talking about some of the main goals of testing in your application and the difference between manual and automatic testing. He then gets into each of the three main testing types and follows it with links (and summaries) to tools you can use to get started testing. He ends the post with a brief look at test-driven development and, setting the stage for the next tutorial in the series, looks at the path ahead.

tagged: tdd definition basic introduction gentle testing unittest phpunit tools summary

Link: http://taha-sh.com/blog/a-gentle-introduction-to-testing-in-php

Anna Filina:
Testing Methods That Make Static Calls
Jan 13, 2016 @ 09:03:40

Anna Filina has posted a quick hint around testing methods that make static methods calls to other parts of your application. Static method calls are notoriously difficult to test, especially with PHPUnit.

I had trouble testing a particularly painful codebase. It had static calls and implicit dependencies all over the place, to name just a few problems.

One of the things that it often did was to call static methods that would increment counters in the database and cache stuff. Example: Record::incrementViews() It was making things difficult. To avoid messing with the original codebase too much, I came up with this quick and dirty way to ignore those dependencies.

Her solution makes use of a mockStaticDependency method that then turns around and redefines the class in question (like her "Record" above) with a __callStatic through an eval. She points out that usually using eval is "evil" but in this case it made testing the functionality much simpler when no feedback was needed from the static method. In the comments on the post, someone also makes a recommendation of the Patchwork library for PHP that allows for "monkey patching" and modifying classes/functionality to redefine functions and methods in a similar way.

tagged: unittest method static call monkeypatch eval callstatic example

Link: http://afilina.com/testing-methods-that-make-static-calls/

Lakion Blog:
TDD your API with Symfony and PHPUnit
Dec 31, 2015 @ 09:16:52

On the Lakion blog there's a post showing you how to use a simple test class/tool they've created to unit test your APIs with PHPUnit.

At Lakion we truly believe in TDD approach. We are convinced that rapid development can not be achieved without proper testing and SOLID code. We always start with defining our needs and writing scenarios, specifications or tests that reflect them. Thanks to this approach, we get exactly what we need and tests are protecting us from regressions. [...] We have come up with a very simple but useful PHPUnit test case for testing APIs. - ApiTestCase.

They start with a bit about the ApiTestCase library and some background on why they created it and some of the features it provides (and other libraries it includes). They then show an example of a simple project using the testing tool to make a request to an endpoint (POST) and check the response matches what's expected. According to the TDD approach, the test fails first then they go back and create the functionality behind to to make it all work.

tagged: tdd phpunit api testing unittest integration apitestcase library tool

Link: http://lakion.com/blog/tdd-your-api-with-symfony-and-phpunit

Jani Hartikainen:
Why is fixing bugs so slow? (and how to make it faster)
Dec 17, 2015 @ 12:06:32

On his CodeUptopia blog Jani Hartikainen has posted a great article with some of his thoughts about why fixing bugs is so slow and includes a few suggestions on how to make it happen faster and streamline the process for the future.

Have you ever wondered why sometimes fixing bugs seems to take much longer than it should? When you finally find the problem, it turns out all you need is one small change. Yet, it took a lot of time to find what’s going on. This happens to me more often than I’d like.

[...] Why is it that sometimes fixing bugs takes a lot of work even when the problem is simple, and other times, it’s really quick to fix the problem – maybe even when it isn’t so trivial? Is there something we can learn from the bugs that are easy to fix, so that we could spend less time fixing bugs in general?

He starts off by describing a typical bug fixing process after the initial discovery and reporting of the issue down to the actual fix being deployed. He then breaks down each of these six steps and provides more context around them:

  • Understanding the problem
  • Reproducing the bug
  • Finding the problematic piece of code
  • Identifying the root cause
  • Fixing the bug
  • Ensuring the bug is fixed

He then goes back and talks about the pain points in this typical process citing things like a lack of good information around the bug and the time constraints that often come with the "time to fix" allowance. He makes some suggestions about how to gather better information around the issue before the fix begins and points to effective logging as one possible source. He also talks about how unit testing can help verify the bug is actually fixed and help to prevent and locate future issues.

tagged: bugfix speed slow opinion process unittest faster advice

Link: http://codeutopia.net/blog/2015/12/16/why-is-fixing-bugs-so-slow-and-how-to-make-it-faster/

Ahmad Hajjar:
Mocking Objects for Unit Testing in PHP Using Go! AOP
Aug 18, 2015 @ 11:55:01

In an interesting post to his blog Ahmad Hajjar shows you how to use to Go! PHP AOP framework to help mock objects in your unit tests. The Go! AOP framework provides some of the base functionality for using aspect-oriented programming techniques in your code.

These have been always very important questions in software development industry; what should I test in unit testing? And how can I make tests as small as possible, and how to avoid testing already tested code? or 3rd party libraries? [...] In principle, unit test must fail for one and ONLY ONE reason, this makes sense actually, as it complies with the S in the SOLID object-oriented design principles. [...] We can use mocks in the problem listed above, to make the unit test, real unit test, that is testing only the things that needs to be tested. [...] However, what we are going to do today is something different. OK! Why should we re-invent the wheel? the answer is : because it is simpler wheel ! also it is a wheel that uses different technology which is AOP.

He uses a simple Laravel application and the Go! framework for his testing examples. He uses the AOP functionality from Go! as the mock handling instead of something like PHPUnit's own mocking or Mockery. He shows how to configure the AOP functionality first, then creates a basic aspect class with a few interceptors for method calls. He creates an AopMocker class that adds the class requested to the mock configuration. Finally he improves the initial unit test example using these tools, building mocks for User and Post classes and making the same assertion.

tagged: unittest mock object aop aspectoriented programming goaop framework

Link: https://ashajjar85.wordpress.com/2015/08/16/mocking-objects-for-unit-testing-in-php-using-go-aop/

Younes Rafie:
Using Selenium with PHPUnit
Jul 30, 2015 @ 09:51:20

In this tutorial posted to the SitePoint PHP blog Younes Rafie shows you how to combine Selenium with PHPUnit to do acceptance testing on your application. Where PHPUnit and unit testing is more about testing the "pieces" of your application, acceptance testing it more about checking the interface and functionality for correctness according to requirements.

Testing is a really wide subject, whether it be unit testing, functional testing, acceptance testing, etc. In this article, we’re going to see how you can do acceptance testing using Selenium. I will use a practical example to illustrate a real use case. I will assume that you already know how to do unit testing using PHPUnit, or that you at least have a grasp of what it’s all about.

He starts with a few definitions around what acceptance testing is and how Selenium can help in performing these evaluations. He uses a simple user registration page for his tests and includes commands to get PHPUnit+Selenium installed as well as an alias to start the Selenium server. He then creates a first test case, setting up the Selenium "browser" to use in later requests. He then gets to testing the page itself, setting up some data providers for the content to inject into the form both valid and invalid. He shows how to work with the DOM inside of your tests and making both a valid and invalid form submission. He also shows how to use a different browser (he defaults to Firefox) and how to check of the current document is ready for evaluation, that is if all Javascript has fired and finished.

tagged: selenium phpunit acceptance testing unittest tutorial

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/using-selenium-with-phpunit/

Kevin Ennis:
On Unit Testing
Jul 27, 2015 @ 11:48:31

On Medium.com Kevin Ennis has shared some thoughts on unit testing and how he's "done a 180%" on what kind of value he feels they bring.

There are a lot of really easy ways to rationalize not testing your code, and I’m probably guilty of saying each of them at one point or another. For some engineers, I think the reluctance to embrace unit testing is basically just FUD. Like so many other things, testing seems scary if you haven’t done it before.

But it’s also really difficult to fully understand the benefits of testing unless you’ve worked on a project that has good tests. So it’s easy to see why?—?without fully understanding the upside?—?many developers regard unit testing as an unnecessary step.

He goes through several of the common excuses for not writing unit tests and debunks them one at a time. He also includes a brief section at the end of the post with a recommendation on how to get started testing...essentially "just do it".

tagged: unittest opinion common rationalization fud

Link: https://medium.com/@kevincennis/on-unit-testing-1cc6798f81ee

Giorgio Sironi:
Property-based testing primer
Jun 19, 2015 @ 12:15:29

Giorgio Sironi has a new post to his site today talking about a method (and tool) around a different sort of testing practice: property-based testing. The difference is that, instead of hard-coding values and evaluating them post-processing, you're generating random values and ensuring they match against a set of properties, not values.

I'm a great advocate of automated testing and of finding out your code does not work on your machine, 30 seconds after having written it, instead of in production after it has caused a monetary loss and some repair work to be performed. [...] However, classic test suites written with xUnit and BDD styles have some scaling problems they hit when you want to exercise more than some happy paths. [...] Property-based testing is an approach to testing coming from the functional programming world.

He helps to make the point a bit more clear with an example of testing the "sort" function and its results. He talks about how to test it using normal data, empty data, etc. but notes that this kind of testing can become "boring and error-prone". Instead he proposes the property-based testing of the results. He generates random values to feed into the method and checks to ensure the results are sorting by comparing them to each other. He expands this with a bit more complex example, showing how to test some DateTime handling and evaluating the result with logic in a closure. To help make this kind of testing easier, he's created a library (Eris) that extends PHPUnit and provides the methods seen in his examples.

tagged: property testing unittest phpunit extension random datetime sort eris

Link: http://www.giorgiosironi.com/2015/06/property-based-testing-primer.html

ThePHP.cc:
PHPUnit 4.7 and Three Shades of Green
Jun 08, 2015 @ 12:57:25

Sebastian Bergmann has posted a guide to PHPUnit 4.7 and some of the changes/new features it introduces.

PHPUnit 4.7 introduces a couple of small improvements. For instance, PHPUnit's PHPT test runner now supports --INI-- sections, information about the PHP runtime used is now printed in verbose mode, and a warning is now printed when code coverage data is collected but no whitelist is configured.

He also talks about the support that's been added improving the output of the HTML version of the code coverage reports, showing different colors based on how well covered the lines are. He also briefly looks ahead to PHPUnit 5, the versions it will support and the plans for release.

tagged: phpunit unittest v47 small medium large coverage shade phpunit5

Link: https://thephp.cc/news/2015/06/phpunit-4-7-and-three-shades-of-green