Version 3 end of life
This version of Silverstripe CMS will not recieve any additional bug fixes or documentation updates. Go to documentation for the most recent stable version.

Unit and Integration Testing

A Unit Test is an automated piece of code that invokes a unit of work in the application and then checks the behavior to ensure that it works as it should. A simple example would be to test the result of a PHP method.



	class Page extends SiteTree {

		public static function MyMethod() {
			return (1 + 1);

	class PageTest extends SapphireTest {

		public function testMyMethod() {
			$this->assertEquals(2, Page::MyMethod());

Tests for your application should be stored in the mysite/tests directory. Test cases for add-ons should be stored in the (modulename)/tests directory.

Test case classes should end with Test (e.g PageTest) and test methods must start with test (e.g testMyMethod). [/info]

A SilverStripe unit test is created by extending one of two classes, SapphireTest or FunctionalTest.

SapphireTest is used to test your model logic (such as a DataObject), and FunctionalTest is used when you want to test a Controller, Form or anything that requires a web page.

[info] FunctionalTest is a subclass of SapphireTest so will inherit all of the behaviors. By subclassing FunctionalTest you gain the ability to load and test web pages on the site.

SapphireTest in turn, extends PHPUnit_Framework_TestCase. For more information on PHPUnit_Framework_TestCase see the PHPUnit documentation. It provides a lot of fundamental concepts that we build on in this documentation. [/info]

Running Tests

PHPUnit Binary

The phpunit binary should be used from the root directory of your website.

	# Runs all tests
	phpunit framework/tests/
	# Run all tests of a specific module

	phpunit framework/tests/filesystem
	# Run specific tests within a specific module
	phpunit framework/tests/filesystem/FolderTest.php
	# Run a specific test
	phpunit framework/tests '' flush=all
	# Run tests with optional `$_GET` parameters (you need an empty second argument)

The manifest is not flushed when running tests. Add flush=all to the test command to do this (see above example.) [/alert]

[alert] If phpunit is not installed globally on your machine, you may need to replace the above usage of phpunit with the full path (e.g vendor/bin/phpunit framework/tests) [/alert]

[info] All command-line arguments are documented on [/info]

Via a Web Browser

Executing tests from the command line is recommended, since it most closely reflects test runs in any automated testing environments. If for some reason you don't have access to the command line, you can also run tests through the browser.

Via the CLI

The sake executable that comes with SilverStripe can trigger a customised TestRunner class that handles the PHPUnit configuration and output formatting. While the custom test runner a handy tool, it's also more limited than using phpunit directly, particularly around formatting test output.

	sake dev/tests/all
	# Run all tests

	sake dev/tests/module/framework,cms
	# Run all tests of a specific module (comma-separated)

	sake dev/tests/FolderTest,OtherTest
	# Run specific tests (comma-separated)

	sake dev/tests/all "flush=all&foo=bar"
	# Run tests with optional `$_GET` parameters

	sake dev/tests/all SkipTests=MySkippedTest
	# Skip some tests

A major impedement to testing is that by default tests are extremely slow to run. There are two things that can be done to speed them up:

Disable xDebug

Unless executing a coverage report there is no need to have xDebug enabled.

    # Disable xdebug
    sudo php5dismod xdebug
    # Run tests
    phpunit framework/tests/
    # Enable xdebug
    sudo php5enmod xdebug

Use SQLite In Memory

SQLIte can be configured to run in memory as opposed to disk and this makes testing an order of magnitude faster. To effect this change add the following to mysite/_config.php - this enables an optional flag to switch between MySQL and SQLite. Note also that the package silverstripe/sqlite3 will need installed, version will vary depending on which version of SilverStripe is being tested.

    if(Director::isDev()) {
    	if(isset($_GET['db']) && ($db = $_GET['db'])) {
        	global $databaseConfig;
        	if($db == 'sqlite3') {
        		$databaseConfig['type'] = 'SQLite3Database';
        		$databaseConfig['path'] = ':memory:';
    phpunit framework/tests '' db=sqlite3

Speed Comparison

Testing against a medium sized module with 93 tests:

  • SQLite - 16.15s
  • MySQL - 314s This means using SQLite will run tests over 20 times faster.

Test Databases and Fixtures

SilverStripe tests create their own database when the test starts. New ss_tmp databases are created using the same connection details you provide for the main website. The new ss_tmp database does not copy what is currently in your application database. To provide seed data use a Fixture file.

[alert] As the test runner will create new databases for the tests to run, the database user should have the appropriate permissions to create new databases on your server. [/alert]

[notice] The test database is rebuilt every time one of the test methods is run. Over time, you may have several hundred test databases on your machine. To get rid of them is a call to [/notice]

Custom PHPUnit Configuration

The phpunit executable can be configured by command line arguments or through an XML file. SilverStripe comes with a default phpunit.xml.dist that you can use as a starting point. Copy the file into phpunit.xml and customise to your needs.


	<phpunit bootstrap="framework/tests/bootstrap.php" colors="true">
		<testsuite name="Default">
			<listener class="SS_TestListener" file="framework/dev/TestListener.php" />

This configuration file doesn't apply for running tests through the "sake" wrapper [/alert]

setUp() and tearDown()

In addition to loading data through a Fixture File, a test case may require some additional setup work to be run before each test method. For this, use the PHPUnit setUp and tearDown methods. These are run at the start and end of each test.


	class PageTest extends SapphireTest {

		function setUp() {

			// create 100 pages
			for($i=0; $i<100; $i++) {
				$page = new Page(array('Title' => "Page $i"));
				$page->publish('Stage', 'Live');

			// set custom configuration for the test.
			Config::inst()->update('Foo', 'bar', 'Hello!');

		public function testMyMethod() {
			// ..

		public function testMySecondMethod() {
			// ..

individual test case.


	class PageTest extends SapphireTest {

		function setUpOnce() {

			// ..

		public function tearDownOnce() {

			// ..

Config and Injector Nesting

A powerful feature of both Config and Injector is the ability to "nest" them so that you can make changes that can easily be discarded without having to manage previous values.

The testing suite makes use of this to "sandbox" each of the unit tests as well as each suite to prevent leakage between tests.

If you need to make changes to Config (or Injector) for each test (or the whole suite) you can safely updateConfig(orInjector) settings in thesetUportearDown` functions.

It's important to remember that the parent::setUp(); functions will need to be called first to ensure the nesting feature works as expected.

	function setUpOnce() {
		//this will remain for the whole suite and be removed for any other tests
		Config::inst()->update('ClassName', 'var_name', 'var_value');
	function testFeatureDoesAsExpected() {
		//this will be reset to 'var_value' at the end of this test function
		Config::inst()->update('ClassName', 'var_name', 'new_var_value');
	function testAnotherFeatureDoesAsExpected() {
		Config::inst()->get('ClassName', 'var_name'); // this will be 'var_value'

PHPUnit can generate a code coverage report (docs) by executing the following commands.

	phpunit --coverage-html assets/coverage-report
	# Generate coverage report for the whole project

Generate coverage report for the "mysite" module

[notice] These commands will output a report to the assets/coverage-report/ folder. To view the report, open the index.html file within a web browser. [/notice]

Typically, only your own custom PHP code in your project should be regarded when producing these reports. To exclude some thirdparty/ directories add the following to the phpunit.xml configuration file.

			<directory suffix=".php">framework/dev/</directory>
			<directory suffix=".php">framework/thirdparty/</directory>
			<directory suffix=".php">cms/thirdparty/</directory>
			<!-- Add your custom rules here -->
			<directory suffix=".php">mysite/thirdparty/</directory>

API Documentation