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Using the testing framework for unit tests

While testing new features in the Seminar Manager extension, we were in need of tools that allow us to easily create and delete dummy records in the database. We designed a small “testing framework” as we call it.


The testing framework enables you to easily

  • Add and change dummy records with defined record data that uses real UIDs
  • Remove single records from a database table
  • Add dummy relations to an m:n table
  • Remove single relations from a database table
  • Add dummy FE pages, FE user groups, FE users, system folders, content elements, TS templates and page cache entries
  • Create a fake front end for testing front-end plugins
  • Clean up all the dummy records
    • automatically deletes all the dummy records from all allowed tables
    • automatically resets the auto_increment index for each table
  • Count records
  • Add, change and remove dummy records on foreign extension tables
  • Create and delete dummy files in your extension’s upload directory
  • Create and delete dummy folders in your extension’s upload directory

Before you start

You need the following stuff before you start:

  • This extension (tx_oelib) must be installed
  • PHPUnit must be installed - we prefer to use the extension tx_phpunit by Kasper Ligaard that integrates PHPUnit in the TYPO3 back end
  • All non-system tables of the extension you’re about to write unit tests need to contain the column “is_dummy_record” (needed for easy removal of the dummy records) – you can see an example for the SQL definition in the ext_tables.sql file of oelib. You don’t need to add this column to the system tables pages, tt_content etc., though, as this extension already provides the necessary columns for those tables.
  • For non-system but foreign extension tables you’re about to write unit tests need to contain the column built using your extension key as prefix followed by “_is_dummy_record” e.g. “tx_seminars_is_dummy_record” if your extension key is “tx_seminars”. The extension key then has to be set via the second parameter of the constructor when creating an instance of the testing framework.
  • You’ll have to write your own test suite for your extension

Write a test suite

Now write your test suite. Keep in mind that the file must be located under /tests/ in your extension’s directory, the filename must end with “testcase.php” and the names of all test methods must start with “test”.

The testing framework must be instantiated once per extension that you’re about to write tests. This is mainly for security reasons! If you instantiate it for “tx_seminars”, it will not allow you to add/remove any record on any table outside of the tx_seminars scope (this means all table names must start with “tx_seminars” in that case).

Here’s a very short example that might help you to integrate our testing framework into your tests. It’s taken 1:1 from the tests for the Seminar Manager extension.We’re not able to provide a full introduction about unit testing and PHPUnit at all. So please read one of the many good documentations regarding this topic.

class tx_seminars_categoryTest extends tx_phpunit_testcase {
  private $fixture;
  private $testingFramework;

  /** UID of the fixture's data in the DB */
  private $fixtureUid = 0;

  public function setUp() {
          $this->testingFramework = new tx_oelib_testingFramework('tx_seminars');
          $this->fixtureUid = $this->testingFramework->createRecord(
                  array('title' => 'Test category')

  public function tearDown() {
          unset($this->fixture, $this->testingFramework);

  public function testGetTitle() {
          $this->fixture = new tx_seminars_category($this->fixtureUid);

                  'Test category',

You can have a deeper look into our example in the subdirectory “tests/” of oelib: All methods of this testing framework are covered with at least one unit test. So it will be easy to see how these tools can be used for your own unit tests.

Known problems with unit testing

  • Currently, the createFakeFrontEnd function in the testing framework uses huge amounts of memory. We’re working on reducing this. As a workaround, please set the PHP memory limit to at least 256 MB on you local development machine. (And don’t run the unit tests on a production server, of course.)
  • If you want to run the oelib test suite itself, you need to install the two test extensions which are provided as T3X files in the TestExtensions/ directory in the oelib extension.