Jumpstart Your PHP Testing with Codeception

The blog has posted a new tutorial that wants to help you make the most of your application via testing. They show you how to use Codeception to create a set of tests to ensure your application is working as expected.

Before moving on to Codeception and PHP, we should cover the basics and start by explaining why we need testing in applications in the first place. Perhaps we could complete a project without wasting time on tests, at least this time?

Sure, you don’t need tests for everything; for example, when you want to build yet another homepage. […] However, you definitely do need testing when: your team uses BDD/TDD, your Git repo contains more than a couple commits, [and] you are a proper professional, working on a serious project.

They start with a look at the kinds of things testing solves in your development process and the different kinds of tests you can create. From there they introduce Codeception, an alternative testing tool to the widely used PHPUnit. The tutorial helps you get it installed and shows you how to make a simple, first test. It helps you execute the test, debug issues that might pop up and the different assertions you can use. With the fundamentals in place, they move on to more details on using it for functional and unit testing.

Laravel News Podcast: Episode #17 – Laravel Echo, Laravel Valet, and PHP-FIG implosion

The Laravel News site has posted the latest episode of their podcast covering Laravel Echo, Valet and the PHP-FIG "implosion".

In this twenty-two minute episode, we talk about Laravel Echo and new changes to Laravel Valet.

You can listen to this latest episode either through the in-page audio player or by downloading the mp3 of the show for offline listening. If you enjoy the show and want to hear more, be sure to subscribe to their feed and get the latest as they’re released.

Zsolt Szend: Dynamic dependency injection

In this new tutorial Zsolt Szende talks about dependency injection and how to handle objects and related needs at runtime rather than the pre-configured method that some injection containers/systems have defined.

In this short article I would like to demonstrate a way to inject dependencies that are not known until runtime. There are many use cases for this and in essence it is about choosing between concrete implementations of some common interface. In object oriented design this is known at the Strategy pattern. The choice itself can be made in various ways, for example via a configuration option or a command line parameter in case of a console command, and I think the dynamic nature of the choice is the most interesting part of the pattern.

The article provides a practical example of an XML/JSON reader pulling information from an external source. A simple interface is defined and two implementation classes put it to use. Then the "command" pattern is used to apply it to an executable script and how injecting a reader type directly overrides the one from the provided option. This is taken a step further and refactored into a "resolver" to determine the best logic to apply based on the input argument.

Mark Baker: Anonymous Class Factory – The Results are in

Following up on his previous post about anonymous classes and a factory to generate them, Mark Baker has posted about the results of some additional research he’s done on the topic and four options he’s come up with.

A week or so ago, I published an article entitled “In Search of an Anonymous Class Factory” about my efforts at writing a “factory” for PHP7’s new Anonymous Classes (extending a named concrete base class, and assigning Traits to it dynamically); and about how I subsequently discovered the expensive memory demands of my original factory code, and then rewrote it using a different and (hopefully) more memory-efficient approach.

Since then, I’ve run some tests for memory usage and timings to assess just how inefficient my first attempt at the factory code was, and whether the new version of the factory really was better than the original.

His four options that finally worked somewhat as he’d wanted were:

  • A factory that returns an instance of a concrete class using the traits he wants
  • A factory that returns an anonymous class extending a concrete class that uses the traits
  • His original Anonymous Class factory and extending the result with the traits
  • His second version of the Anonymous Class factory that creates the instance, caches it and returns a clone

He also includes the code he used to run the tests of each factory method and shares some of the resulting benchmarks (with a few surprises).

Adam Wathan: Writing Your Own Test Doubles

In this recent post to his site Adam Wathan about writing your own custom test doubles (fakes) to help make your tests cleaner and improve their overall readability/maintainability.

Once in a while I run into a situation where trying to use a mocking library hurts the readability of my test. For example, say I’m building out a basic user registration flow where someone signs up and receives a welcome email. […] To test that an account is created correctly, I can make a request to the endpoint and verify that the new account exists in a test database. […] This covers creating the account itself, but what’s the best way to test the welcome email?

He goes through a few of the options that could be used to test this including using Mockery to replace the mailer class with a spy or actually sending emails. There’s downfalls to both of these methods and he suggests using a custom "fake" where the mailer class is swapped out with an "in-memory" option with the same kind of interface. He does point out a few issues with this method, however, and offers a few tips to remember when using them. Prototype Quickly in Laravel with PHP’s Built-In Server and SQLite

The site has a tutorial they’ve posted showing how to prototype a site quickly using Laravel and its built-in server/SQLite support.

If you are a seasoned Laravel developer, you know the usual project setup drill that involves creating a new project, a fresh database, and adding a virtual host entry to Apache.

If you are starting from scratch, the Apache and MySQL installation can take some time and slow things down for you. However, I will show you how you can jump start your Laravel development without Apache and MySQL.

The tutorial shows you how to use the internal PHP server to host the application, run a Laravel site inside it and integrate SQLite as the database. Each section comes with some example code and the commands/configuration you’ll need to make the system work. They also take a "deep dive" into Larvel’s serve command and how it bootstraps the Laravel instance for the PHP built-in server. The post ends with a look at switching back to MySQL and a comparison of SQLite vs MySQL (as well as using SQLite for production). Never Use null

On the blog they’ve made a recommendation in their latest post – they suggest that you never use null.

When doing code reviews together with our customers we see a pattern regularly which I consider problematic in multiple regards – the usage of null as a valid property or return value. We can do better than this.

Let’s go into common use cases first and then discuss how we can improve the code to make it more resilient against errors and make it simpler to use. Most issues highlighted are especially problematic when others are using your source code. As long as you are the only user (which hopefully is not the case) those patterns might be fine.

They talk about some of the most common uses they see for using null in PHP applications including setters for class properties (injection). They point out that in PHP 7 a missing value on a property would result in a Fatal error and make the functionality harder to test overall. They suggest that all required dependencies be injected on object construction instead, making it easier to know the current state of the object on testing. They also talk some about using null as a return value, how it could make debugging difficult and a solution that could make more sense – throwing an exception instead.