Cooking PHPUnit (and a chef-solo example on top)

Sunday, December 4. 2011

I'm sure most of you noticed that with the recent upgrade of PHPUnit to version 3.6, a lot of breakage was introduced in various projects.

And for example Zend Framework 1.x won't update to the latest version either. When I ranted on twitter someone send me Christer Edvartsen's blog post on how to setup multiple versions of PHPUnit. It's really neat since it walks you through the setup step by step and you learn about things such as --installroot on the way. --installroot in particular is something I never ever saw before and I've been using PEAR for more than a few years now. So kudos to Christer for introducing myself to it.

The only thing to add from my side would be, Why are you guys not aggregated on planet-php?.

Cooking with Chef

Another reason why I decided to write this blog entry was that I created a chef-recipe based on Christer's blog entry.

If you follow my blog for a while, you might have noticed that I'm a huge fan of automation. I just moved one of our development servers the other day and had one of these moments where something just paid off. Taking for granted that I can spin up fully operational EC2 instances in minutes, I also had our development stack installed and configured in an instant.

My recipe basically follows Christer's instructions and because I distribute phpunit's command along with it, editing of the file is no longer required: when the chef run completes, phpunit34 is installed and ready to be used.

Get started

I'm doing the following commands as root — my setup is in /root/chef-setup.

Install chef(-solo) and clone my cookbooks

shell# gem install --no-ri --no-rdoc chef
shell# git clone git://

Chef configuration

Then setup a node.json file which chef-solo will need to run:

  "run_list": [

Then create a solo.rb:

file_cache_path "/var/chef-solo"
cookbook_path ["/root/chef-setup/easybib-cookbooks"]

Chef run

Finally we start chef-solo with following command:

shell# chef-solo -c /root/chef-setup/solo.rb -j /root/chef-setup/node.json -l debug

The command runs chef-solo (which is part of the gem we installed) and reads the basic configuration from the solo.rb-file. This file contains the location of the cookbooks (remember git clone ...) and a path to cache files. You don't need to create anything, it should be all taken care of.

The node.json-part allows us to set node-specific values. The prime example is the run-list, but it allows you to set attributes as well. Attributes contain values for variables used in recipes, but are not used in this example.

Last but not least: -l debug — a lot of useful output, but we usually run with -l warn. And if this is interesting enough for you, I suggest the other blog entries I wrote on this topic.

Did it work?

Depending on the location of your pear setup — usually /usr/bin/pear or /usr/local/bin/pear — the phpunit34 script is created in the same path:

shell# which phpunit34



This feels like hitting two birds with one stone. Though just by figure of speech! I object to violence against birds.

It might be overkill to setup chef to just install phpunit 3.4 by itself, but I think this serves as a stellar example of how you can leverage the power of chef to get more done. Writing a couple more recipes to install and configure the rest of your stack shouldn't be too hard.

If you'd like to see anything in particular: I'll take requests via email, Twitter or in the comments.

RFC: Mocking protected methods

Wednesday, June 15. 2011

Update, 2011-06-16, 12:15 AM Thanks for the comments.

(I swear I had something like that before and it didn't work!) Here's the solution:

$userId = 61382;
$docId  = 'CLD2_62e029fc-1dae-4f20-873e-69facb64a21a';
$body   = '{"error":"missing","reason":"problem?"}';

$client = new Zend_Http_Client;
$client->setAdapter(new Zend_Http_Client_Adapter_Test);

$couchdb = $this->getMock(
    array($userId, $this->config,)
    ->will($this->returnValue(new Zend_Http_Response(200, array(), $body)));

--- Original blog entry ---

I wrote a couple tests for a small CouchDB access wrapper today. But when I wrote the implementation itself, I realized that my class setup depends on an actual CouchDB server being available and here my journey began.

Example code

Consider the following example:

My objective is not to be able to test any of the protected methods directly, but to be able to supply a fixture so we don't have to setup CouchDB to run our testsuite. My fixture would replace makeRequest() and return a JSON string instead.

Continue reading "RFC: Mocking protected methods"

Contributing to PEAR: Taking over packages

Friday, February 18. 2011

One of the more frequent questions I see on the mailing lists and IRC is, "How do I take over a package?".

Very often people start to use a PEAR package and then at some point encounter either a bug or they miss a certain feature. The package's state however is inactive or flat unmaintained.

Offer help

The first step is to offer your help. And the easiest way to help is to report bugs or open feature requests.

A great bug report or feature request includes:

  1. Accurate problem description.
  2. A proposed solution.
  3. A patch (unified diff, aka diff -up or svn diff)
  4. A PHPUnit test case so this bug stays fixed.

I realize that these are a lot of requirements, but I also said a great bug report and no one said it was easy.

Getting fixes in

Often people persued these first steps and went the whole nine yards. But the bugs are still not fixed, the feature isn't implemented either and no release was pushed out.

How do you move forward now?

  1. Email the maintainer and cc
  2. Ping PEAR QA again after reasonable period of time passed (e.g. 1 or 2 weeks tops)

If the package is generally unmaintained or the maintainer did not respond, PEAR QA will be happy to apply patches for you and do a new release. If the maintainer replied, work with them to get the issues fixed and a new release shipped.

Do you want to maintain?

To become the maintainer of any package we need to see your contributions first.

Contributions include:

  • patches for bugs and features
  • tests
  • bug reports
  • (maybe) helping people on the IRC channel

The fastest way to take over an orphaned package is to provide patches to any open issues so the QA team can push out a new release.

Contributing code is not just the preferred way but a hard requirement. It's the only viable way for others to assess your skills.

Another way to maintainership is of course when the current maintainer asked you if you want to contribute more since you showed them an interest through your work.

Find a package

Here's a list of currently unmaintained PEAR packages:


I hope I summarized the process a little to make it more transparent. In the end it's pretty simple and straight forward to contribute to PEAR — and lots of people will be tankful for your contributions too.

Selenium & Saucelenium: installation and dbus-xorg-woes

Tuesday, September 7. 2010

We're about to launch a new product, and this time it's pretty client-side-intense. The application is powered by a lot of JavaScript(-mvc) and jQuery, which do xhr calls to a ZF/CouchDB powered backend. While js-mvc has unit-testing sort of covetred, I was also looking for some integration testing, multiple browsers and all that.

Selenium vs. Saucelenium

I can't really say if you want one or the other. Revisiting Selenium in general, it's IMHO the only viable and suitable thing for a PHP shop. Primarily of course because all those nifty test cases will integrate into our existing suite of PHPUnit/phpt tests. And while I use Zend_Test already or find projects like SimpleTest's browser or even Perl's www::mechanize very appealing, neither of those executes JavaScript like a browser.

Selenium and Saucelenium have the same root — in fact Saucelenium is a Selenium fork. While the Selenium project seems to focus on 2.x currently, stable 1.x development seems to really happen at Saucelabs. That is if you call a commit from January 22nd of this year active development.

In the process of selecting one or the other, more people recommended that I'd use the Saucelabs distribution than the original one, and so I forked it on github.


Along with a script to start the damn thing, my fork also contains a Said README covers the installation part in detail, so I won't have to repeat myself here. All of this is pretty Ubuntu-centric and has been tested on Karmic Koala. I expect things to work just as well on Lucid, or on any other distribution if you get the installation right.

One thing that took me a while to figure out was the following error message:

till@testing:/usr/src/saucelenium$ sudo ./ 
[config/dbus] couldn't take over org.x.config: org.freedesktop.DBus.Error.AccessDenied (Connection ":1.17" is not allowed to own the service "org.x.config.display0" due to security     policies in the configuration file)
(EE) config/hal: couldn't initialise context: unknown error (null)
13:17:23.166 INFO - Writing debug logs to /var/log/selenium.log
13:17:23.166 INFO - Java: Sun Microsystems Inc. 16.0-b13
13:17:23.166 INFO - OS: Linux amd64
13:17:23.176 INFO - v1.0.1 [exported], with Core v@VERSION@ [@REVISION@]
13:17:23.296 INFO - Version Jetty/5.1.x
13:17:23.306 INFO - Started HttpContext[/selenium-server/driver,/selenium-server/driver]
13:17:23.306 INFO - Started HttpContext[/selenium-server,/selenium-server]
13:17:23.316 INFO - Started HttpContext[/,/]
13:17:23.326 INFO - Started SocketListener on
13:17:23.326 INFO - Started org.mortbay.jetty.Server@7526e85f
^C13:18:09.796 INFO - Shutting down...

After Google'ing for a bit, I came to the conclusion that the above means that I didn't have the xserver installed.

The fix was rather simple: aptitude install xserver-xorg.

Example test

The following is an example test case. It'll open and make sure it finds "What is PHP?" somewhere on that page.

Then it will continue to /downloads.php (by clicking on that link) and will make sure it finds "Binaries for other systems" on that page.

To run this test, execute: phpunit ExampleTestCase.php.

class ExampleTestCase extends PHPUnit_Extensions_SeleniumTestCase
    protected function setUp()

    public function testPHP()
        $this->assertTextPresent('What is PHP?');

        $this->assertTextPresent('Binaries for other systems');

        // check this out, especially useful for debugging:
        $this->assertEquals('', $this->drivers[0]->getLocation());

That's all.

Thanks for reading, and until next time.

Slides: Testing (with) PHP

Thursday, May 7. 2009

German content: These are my slides from the BEPHPUG user group meeting (2009/05/06). I hope these help others to get an overview on testing with PHP and PHP itself. I certainly hope it's all correct too! :-)