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ThePHP.cc:
Questioning PHPUnit Best Practices
Feb 05, 2016 @ 12:13:04

In this new post to thePHP.cc blog Sebastian Bergmann (creator of the PHPUnit unit testing tool) questions of some the current "best practices" involved in using the tool. More specifically he looks at the handling for expected exceptions and proposes a new practice to use going forward.

It is important to keep in mind that best practices for a tool such as PHPUnit are not set in stone. They rather evolve over time and have to be adapted to changes in PHP, for instance. Recently I was involved in a discussion that questioned the current best practice for testing exceptions. That discussion resulted in changes in PHPUnit 5.2 that I would like to explain in this article.

He talks about the currently widely used practice of the @expectedException annotation to define when an exception should be thrown from the code inside the unit test. Sebastian talks about the evolution of this into other annotations around the code and message returned from the exception too. He then proposes the new best practice as a result of some discussion around the annotation method: returning to the use of the setExpectedException method. He provides some reasoning behind the switch including the timing of the exception being thrown (not just "any time" but a more specific time).

tagged: phpunit bestpractice expected exception annotation method expectedexception

Link: https://thephp.cc/news/2016/02/questioning-phpunit-best-practices

Anna Filina:
Testing Methods That Make Static Calls
Jan 13, 2016 @ 09:03:40

Anna Filina has posted a quick hint around testing methods that make static methods calls to other parts of your application. Static method calls are notoriously difficult to test, especially with PHPUnit.

I had trouble testing a particularly painful codebase. It had static calls and implicit dependencies all over the place, to name just a few problems.

One of the things that it often did was to call static methods that would increment counters in the database and cache stuff. Example: Record::incrementViews() It was making things difficult. To avoid messing with the original codebase too much, I came up with this quick and dirty way to ignore those dependencies.

Her solution makes use of a mockStaticDependency method that then turns around and redefines the class in question (like her "Record" above) with a __callStatic through an eval. She points out that usually using eval is "evil" but in this case it made testing the functionality much simpler when no feedback was needed from the static method. In the comments on the post, someone also makes a recommendation of the Patchwork library for PHP that allows for "monkey patching" and modifying classes/functionality to redefine functions and methods in a similar way.

tagged: unittest method static call monkeypatch eval callstatic example

Link: http://afilina.com/testing-methods-that-make-static-calls/

Ross Tuck:
Formatting Exception Messages
Oct 27, 2015 @ 12:09:39

In a post to his site Ross Tuck shares some of his experience and some helpful hints around formatting exception messages and how doing so effectively can make life for fellow developers much easier.

Over the last couple years, I’ve started putting my Exception messages inside static methods on custom exception classes. This is hardly a new trick, Doctrine’s been doing it for the better part of a decade. Still, many folks are surprised by it, so this article explains the how and why.

He shares his tips as a part of a "refactoring" in a simple example, a CSV import where there are failures during the import process on certain lines. He starts with the basic Exception and works through the logic to customize it and make it more useful. He shows the inclusion of additional details in the message, abstracting out the formatting to custom methods based on the error type and using static methods for the more complex message formatting. He also suggests the creation of methods to handle specific error cases with more details than a simple single-line error in a normal exception being thrown.

When you co-locate the messages inside the exception, however, you gain an overview of the error cases. If these cases multiply too fast or diverge significantly, it’s a strong smell to split the exception class and create a better API. [...] Sometimes we underestimate the little things that shape our code. [...] Creating good environments at a high level starts with encouraging them at the lowest levels. Pay attention to what your habits encourage you to do.
tagged: format exception message custom method details static

Link: http://rosstuck.com/formatting-exception-messages/

Symfony Blog:
Paving the way for Symfony 3 with the "Deprecation Detector" tool
Oct 22, 2015 @ 10:48:31

On the Symfony blog there's a post talking about a tool they've introduced that is helping to "pave the way" for the upcoming version 3 release of the Symfony framework - the Deprecation Detector tool.

Symfony 3 will be released at the end of November 2015. Learning from our own history, the transition from Symfony 2 to 3 will be much more pleasant than the transition from symfony 1 to 2 that happened in July 2011.

Technically speaking, Symfony 3 includes no new features comparing it with Symfony 2.8, which will be released at the same time. [...] This means that your Symfony applications won't work on Symfony 3 unless you remove all their deprecations. In order to simplify the task of finding which deprecations affect your applications, a new tool called Deprecation Detector has just been released.

The tool runs static analysis against your codebase and finds locations where you're using deprecated methods/classes/interfaces/etc and reports them back for fixing. The post includes the commands you'll need to get the tool installed and how to run it against your code. You can find out more about the project and get details on command line options on its GitHub repository.

tagged: deprecation detector symfony2 symfony3 method interface class service tool tutorial

Link: http://symfony.com/blog/paving-the-way-for-symfony-3-with-the-deprecation-detector-tool

Gonzalo Ayuso:
Alternative way to inject providers in a Silex application
Oct 19, 2015 @ 11:18:10

Gonazalo Ayuso has shared a method he's found for injecting providers into Silex that replaces accessing the dependency injection container as an array. It instead replaces it and allows defining function parameters instead.

I normally use Silex when I need to build one Backend. It’s simple and straightforward to build one API endpoint using this micro framework. But there’s something that I don’t like it: The “array access” way to access to the dependency injection container. I need to remember what kind of object provides my service provider and also my IDE doesn’t help me with autocompletion. OK I can use PHPDoc comments or even create one class that inherits from SilexApplication and use Traits. Normally I’m lazy to do it. Because of that I’ve create this simple service provider to help me to do what I’m looking for. Let me explain it a little bit.

He includes examples of both the normal way you can access Silex's injection containers (the "array access" method) and contrasts this with his updated method, via a method parameter on the route closure. His service provider (complete code in the post and on github), when registered, looks for controller events and performs reflection on the closure to detect which objects need to be injected. The method is then called normally but with the extra attributes set, populating the parameters.

tagged: slex service provider alternative array access parameter method dependency injection

Link: http://gonzalo123.com/2015/10/19/alternative-way-to-inject-providers-in-a-silex-application/

Paul Jones:
A Factory Should Create, Not Retain
Jul 08, 2015 @ 08:45:31

Paul Jones has posted his thoughts about factory behavior in PHP applications (well, really any kind of application as it's a pan-language concept). He suggests that factories should only create the objects requested and not persist them.

In a recent Reddit conversation, some of us went off on a tangent about factories. I maintained then, and do now, that a “factory” always-and-only returns a new instance. If you have a “factory” that returns anything other than a new instance, it’s not a factory alone. In the case of factory methods, it is a factory + accessor; in the case of factory objects, it is a factory + registry. A “factory” (whether a factory method or factory object) is one way to separate object creation from object use.

He gives an example of a case where an object needs to be created for a "doSomething" method. His first example shows the creation of the "Item" inline, mixing the creation and use of the object into the same place. He replaces this with a "factory" class/method that only returns the new "Item" requested. He points out that a factory method that retains the object (like as a class property) has the same problem as the first example - retention. Instead he suggests an intermediate "collaborator" that splits out the creation and retention once again.

tagged: factory retain create object method collaborator example

Link: http://paul-m-jones.com/archives/6161

Evert Pot:
PHP's callable typehint too loose?
May 07, 2015 @ 10:19:56

In his latest post Evert Pot wonders if the current implementation of the "Callable" type in PHP is too loose when it comes to what it will accept as a valid callable resource.

PHP got support for closures in version 5.3, and in PHP 5.4 we got support for a callable typehint. [...] All these little changes make it feel more comfortable to apply functional programming concepts to PHP, but occasionally we need to drop back to using less aesthetically pleasing code.

In his examples of "less aesthetically pleasing code" he shows a few different methods that work that aren't the typical closure or object arguments (like passing in an array of object+method name). He also shows an interesting option where you can use a string with a static method call (ex: "MyClass::method") and it will still be accepted. He points out that for this to work correctly in all situations, the call_user_func method should be used, not just calling the input directly.

tagged: callable typehint loose object method array variable iscallable calluserfunc

Link: http://evertpot.com/on-callables-and-closures/

Marc Morera:
Behat and Data-test
Apr 27, 2015 @ 09:55:08

In a new post Marc Morera makes a suggestion for a testing practice to add to the use of the popular BDD PHP testing framework Behat - a "data-test" option to help with decoupling the tests from implementation.

Tests should be as robust as possible. I think you will agree with me with that phrase. If your tests are too coupled with your implementation, a simple modification of your code will need the modification of your tests, and that’s so annoying, right? [...] My question is… should the frontend of your website be aware of the how your Behat tests are built? In my opinion, nope. Your tests should live in a simple layout on top of your application, emulating some cases and ensuring that your users will be able to do what they should be able to.

He points out the main problem with the current testing methods, mainly that the real issue is in the hard-wiring of the test functionality to the name/id/type of the interface elements. He also brings up the aspect of translations and ensuring that your tests take into account that the text may not always be in English. He also mentions Symfony forms and how they define their own structure and naming, not necessarily what you manually generate. He instead proposes a "data-test" property that could be added to elements both indicating that they're used by the testing process and can help in locating the elements during the testing process.

tagged: behat bdd datatest property markup testing method opinion

Link: http://mmoreram.com/blog/2015/04/25/behat-and-data-test/

Snack Overflow:
Unit testing static calls without refactoring the world in php
Feb 27, 2015 @ 11:55:06

The "Snack Overflow" blog (from tech.graze.com) has a recent post sharing some suggestions to help unit test static calls without having to "refactor the world" away from them.

Imagine you have a situation [using a static method call] in some legacy code. Currently we can't unit test this as we can't mock out the doSomethingElse() call. So what do we do? Well we have two options really [...] neither of which is very appealing. [...] There is, however, a third option that gains us the ability to unit test Foo without having to touch Bar at all.

This option involves creating a "proxy" object of the "Bar" class that's non-static and only returns the result of the previous class' static method. You can then correctly mock that class and return the result in a more self-contained way. He lists a few caveats with this method including the fact that it could lead to a lot of proxy objects if there are a lot of static methods to replicate.

tagged: unittest static method refactor proxy object mock tutorial

Link: http://tech.graze.com/2015/02/26/unit-testing-static-calls-without-refactoring-the-world-in-php/

NetTuts.com:
Create a Custom Payment Method in OpenCart: Part 3
Jan 21, 2015 @ 10:20:44

NetTuts.com has continued their series showing how to integrate a custom payment method into your OpenCart instance with part three of the series. In this tutorial they focus more on the frontend aspects, creating controller and model handling for the new method.

If you've been following along with this series, you should be familiar with the kind of file structure we set up for our custom payment method in the back-end. [...] We'll use a similar kind of file setup for the front-end section as well.

He starts with the controller, building a handler for the Custom method, doing some data filtering and getting the order information. He walks you through what each of the lines are doing and shows how to output the result back to a view. He also includes the model code needed for the custom payment method as well as language/template files to display the form needed to gather the necessary data.

tagged: opencart part3 series custom payment method tutorial

Link: http://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/create-a-custom-payment-method-in-opencart-part-3--cms-22464