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Resetting the Database


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It's really common with integration tests or functional tests to talk to the database. And we almost always need to seed the database before the test: to add some rows to LockDown before doing the work and calling the assertions.

In the first tutorial, we talked about a testing philosophy or pattern called AAA: Arrange, Act, and Assert. With an integration test, the Arrange step commonly involves adding rows to your database, the Act step is where you call the method and then Assert is, of course, the assertions at the end.

Loading Fixtures?

There are two approaches to seeding your database in a test. The first is to write code inside the test to insert all the data you need. The second is to create and run a set of fixtures.

And our app does have fixtures that power our local site. Should we... load those from inside our test so that it starts with some data in a predictable state?

This sounds nice! But... don't do it! Don't load fixtures in your tests. Why? Because a good test reads like a story: you should be able to read what data is added, what method is called, and what behavior is expected.

If you load a set of fixtures... then suddenly assert that we're in a lockdown, it's not super obvious why we're in a lockdown... or what we're even testing! You need to go dig into the app fixtures to find which LockDown records there are... and figure out what's going on. I do not like that.

So, even though it might feel like a bit more work, the best strategy is to insert the data you need inside each test method. And after the next chapter, it actually won't be much work.

Clearing the Data

Even more importantly, no matter how you seed your database, we need to make sure that, before each test starts, the database is empty. And we just saw why.

Our original test passed... until our second test inserted a row... which caused the first to suddenly fail. Boo. Unless your database is in a perfectly predictable state at the start of each test, you can't trust them! And the best way to be predictable is to start empty!

We could override the setUp() method and run code here that does that. Fortunately, we don't need to because there are multiple libraries that already solve this problem. My favorite is Foundry.

Installing zenstruck/foundry


composer require zenstruck/foundry --dev

If you watched our Doctrine tutorial, you'll remember Foundry! But you may not know about its testing superpowers... which is where it really shines.

The main point of this library is to help create dummy data, and we are going to talk about that soon. But it also comes with a super easy way to empty your database between each test.

To use it, at the top of your test class, say use ResetDatabase... and also another trait called Factories.

// ... lines 1 - 8
use Zenstruck\Foundry\Test\Factories;
use Zenstruck\Foundry\Test\ResetDatabase;
// ... line 11
class LockDownRepositoryTest extends KernelTestCase
use ResetDatabase, Factories;
// ... lines 15 - 42

Run the tests:

symfony php vendor/bin/phpunit tests/Integration/Repository/LockDownRepositoryTest.php

They pass! We can run them over and over and over again! Before each individual test method, it empties the database!

By the way, there's another library that does the same thing called dama/doctrine-test-bundle, which can be even faster than Foundry's ResetDatabase. Feel free to install that - then use Foundry just for the factory stuff that we'll talk about soon. They work great together.

Silencing Deprecations with symfony/phpunit-bridge

Before we move on, you probably noticed that we have a bunch of deprecations! Seeing deprecations is great... but an indirect deprecation means that it's not our code that's triggering the deprecation: it's one library calling a deprecated method on another library.

I'm not too worried about these... so let's silence them for the rest of the tutorial. These deprecation warnings come from Symfony's phpunit-bridge package, and we can control how they work.

Open up phpunit.xml.dist. Down here, inside the php section, add env to set an environment variable called SYMFONY_DEPRECATIONS_HELPER. For the value, an easy way to silence these warnings is to send them to a log file instead: logFile=var/log/deprecations.log.

40 lines | phpunit.xml.dist
// ... lines 1 - 3
<phpunit xmlns:xsi=""
// ... lines 5 - 9
// ... lines 12 - 17
<env name="SYMFONY_DEPRECATIONS_HELPER" value="logFile=var/log/deprecations.log"/>
// ... lines 20 - 38

Close that up. Now when we run the tests:

symfony php vendor/bin/phpunit tests/Integration/Repository/LockDownRepositoryTest.php

Clean and tidy! And the deprecations are still waiting for us in the log file.

Next: let's leverage Foundry Factories to make seeding our database an absolute delight!