Working With Unit Tests

    Propel's test environment has a couple of requirements which should be setup before running the test suite.

    Setup the environment


    Install following PHP modules:


    Increase the memory_limit in your php.ini to something very high:

    memory_limit = 512M

    Set a default timezone in your php.ini:

    date.timezone = Europe/Berlin


    By default, the Propel test suite uses the username root without a password. This is the default setting on most platforms after installing MySQL.

    Create following databases:

    CREATE SCHEMA bookstore_schemas;
    CREATE SCHEMA contest;
    CREATE SCHEMA second_hand_books;
    CREATE DATABASE reverse_bookstore;

    If you want to test with your own credentials, then create a user and authorize him to the created databases. See Configure the credentials to be used.

    Configure the credentials to be used

    You must configure both the generator and the runtime connection settings:

    // in test/fixtures/bookstore/
    propel.database = mysql
    propel.database.url = mysql:dbname=test
    propel.mysqlTableType = InnoDB
    # For MySQL or Oracle, you also need to specify username & password
    propel.database.user = myusername
    propel.database.password = p@ssw0rd
    // in test/fixtures/bookstore/runtime-conf.xml
    <datasource id="bookstore">
      <!-- the Propel adapter to use for this connection -->
      <!-- Connection parameters. See PDO documentation for DSN format and available option constants. -->
            <option id="ATTR_PERSISTENT">false</option>
            <!-- For MySQL, you should also turn on prepared statement emulation,
                            as prepared statements support is buggy in mysql driver -->
            <option id="ATTR_EMULATE_PREPARES">true</option>
            <!--  Set the character set for client connection -->
            <setting id="charset">utf8</setting>

    To run the unit tests for the namespace support in PHP 5.3, you must also configure the fixtures/namespaced project.

    To run the unit tests for the database schema support, you must also configure the fixtures/schemas project. This projects requires that your database supports schemas, and already contains the following schemas: bookstore_schemas, contest, and second_hand_books. Note that the user defined in and runtime-conf.xml must have access to these schemas.

    Get PHPUnit

    You can get PHPUnit here:

    The fastest way to get it is:

    chmod +x phpunit.phar

    This manual is based on this phpunit.phar.

    Get Phing

    To get phing, you can download it manually ( or use Composer.

    curl -s | php



    and then:

    php composer.phar install

    Preparing fixures

    Every time you start using the test suite with a new Propel repository you should fire:


    It prepares all required fixures and creates some tables in your databases. So if you re-setup your databases, re-run this script.

    If you get something like:

    [ bookstore ]
    No VERSION.TXT file found; try setting phing.home environment variable.

    then you don't have setup Phing correctly.

    If you get messages like:

    Propel/generator/build.xml:95:15: No project directory specified

    then this is OK - just ignore them.

    Writing Tests

    How the Tests Work

    Every method in the test classes that begins with test is run as a test case by PHPUnit. All tests are run in isolation; the setUp() method is called at the beginning of "each" test and the tearDown() method is called at the end.

    The BookstoreTestBase class specifies setUp() and tearDown() methods which populate and depopulate, respectively, the database. This means that every unit test is run with a cleanly populated database. To see the sample data that is populated, take a look at the BookstoreDataPopulator class. You can also add data to this class, if needed by your tests; however, proceed cautiously when changing existing data in there as there may be unit tests that depend on it. More typically, you can simply create the data you need from within your test method. It will be deleted by the tearDown() method, so no need to clean up after yourself.

    If you've made a change to a template or to Propel behavior, the right thing to do is write a unit test that ensures that it works properly -- and continues to work in the future.

    Write one

    Writing a unit test often means adding a method to one of the existing test classes. For example, let's test a feature in the Propel templates that supports saving of objects when only default values have been specified. Just add a testSaveWithDefaultValues() method to the GeneratedObjectTest class (test/testsuite/generator/builder/om/GeneratedObjectTest.php), as follows:

    class GeneratedObjectTest extends BookstoreTestBase
         * Test saving object when only default values are set.
        public function testSaveWithDefaultValues()
            // Relies on a default value of 'Penguin' specified in schema
            // for col.
            $pub = new Publisher();
            // in the past this wouldn't have marked object as modified
            // since 'Penguin' is the value that's already set for that attrib
            // if getId() returns the new ID, then we know save() worked.
            $this->assertNotNull($pub->getId(), "Expect Publisher->save() to work  with only default values.");

    You can also write additional unit test classes to any of the directories in test/testsuite/ (or add new directories if needed). PHPUnit command will find these files automatically and run them.

    Start the magic

    Now you should be ready to go with PHPUnit.

    To start all tests, run:


    To start only one test, run:

    ./phpunit.phar test/testsuite/generator/model/TableTest.php

    If you get

    OK, but incomplete or skipped tests!

    then anything looks quite good :-)


    If you get something like:

    Fatal error: Call to a member function isCommitable() on a non-object in test/tools/helpers/bookstore/BookstoreTestBase.php on line 43

    then you have probably not created all necessary databases or you credentials are wrong.

    If you get a lot of errors in your first line, then you probably didn't fire the ./test/

    Found a typo ? Something is wrong in this documentation ? Just fork and edit it !