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Assertions / Profile "Tests"

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Adding specific assertions inside a test is really cool:

40 lines | tests/Controller/MainControllerTest.php
// ... lines 1 - 8
class MainControllerTest extends WebTestCase
// ... lines 11 - 27
public function testGetGitHubOrganizationBlackfireHttpRequests()
// ... lines 30 - 31
$blackfireConfig = (new Configuration())
->assert('metrics.http.requests.count == 1');
// ... lines 35 - 37

But you can also add assertions globally. What I mean is, whenever you trigger a real Blackfire profile - like through your browser - you can set up assertions that you want to run against that profile.

Recommendations Versus Assertions

Actually, we've already seen a system that's similar to this. Click into one of the profiles. Every profile has a "Recommendations" tab on the left, which tells us changes that we should probably make. In reality, recommendations are assertions in disguise! For example, the "Symfony debug mode should be disabled in production" is displayed here because the assertion that metrics.symfony.kernel.debug.count equals zero, failed. Yep, metrics are everywhere!

I love that Blackfire gives us so many of these recommendations for free. But we can also define our own. When we do, they'll show up under the assertions tab.

Hello .blackfire.yaml

How do we do that? Just send an email to assertion-requests@blackfire.io, pay $19.95 for shipping and handling, and wait 6-8 weeks for delivery. If you order now, we'll double your order and include a signed-copy of the blackfire-player source code printed as a book.

Or you can configure global assertions with a special Blackfire config file. At the root of your project, create a new file called .blackfire.yaml. A few different things will eventually go here - the first is tests:.

Honestly, the trickiest thing about writing assertions is trying to figure out... a good assertion to use! Writing time-based assertions is the easiest... but because they're fragile, we want to avoid those.

Adding your first "Test"

Let's start with one we've already done. Say: "HTTP requests should be limited to 1 per page":. Below this, add path set to the regular expression /.*:

6 lines | .blackfire.yaml
"HTTP Requests should be limited to 1 per page":
path: "/.*"
// ... lines 4 - 6

This means that this assertion will be executed against any profile for any page. Only want the assertion to run against a single page or section? Use this option.

Now add assertions: with one item below. Go steal the metrics expression from our test... and paste it here. Change this to be less than or equal to 1:

6 lines | .blackfire.yaml
"HTTP Requests should be limited to 1 per page":
path: "/.*"
- "metrics.http.requests.count <= 1"

That's it! Let's try it out! Back in your browser... go back to our site, refresh, and create a new profile. I'll call it: [Recording] Added first assertion.

Click into the call graph. Actually, go back. See this little green check mark? That already tells us that this profile passed all our "tests". We can see that on the "Assertions" tab: metrics.http.requests.count was 0, which is less than or equal to 1.

So at this point, these "tests" are basically a nice way to create your own custom recommendations. These will become more interesting later when we talk about environments and builds.

Next, let's talk about a tool from the Blackfire ecosystem called the Blackfire player. It's a command line utility that allows us to write simple files and execute them as functional tests... completely independent of the Blackfire profiling system. What we learn from it will form the foundation for the rest of the tutorial.