Test Spies and Mockery post

December 27th, 2013

While recording some screencasts I was struggling to figure out how to get PHPUnit's built-in object mocking tools to allow me to create what is known as a "test spy". I talk about them briefly in my PHPUnit Cookbook but I think that what I wanted to do in this instance was beyond what PHPUnit could give me.

I had some code-under-test that had a conditional statement inside a foreach() loop (aggravating my desire to use object calisthenics) and I wanted to make sure that both branches of the conditional statement got executed.

I first tried something like this:

    // $db is our mocked database object based off stdClass for testing
        ->with($update, ['id' => 1]);
        ->with($delete, ['id' => 5]);

I was using Aura.Sql and it's Update and Delete objects. I wanted to be sure that I was using both objects.

I also tried using $this->at(0) and $this->at(1) as well, I got errors ranging from "method query was not mocked" to problems complaining about expected values not showing up at the expected sequence.

I knew there had to be a better way, but I really wanted just to use PHPUnit's built-in mocking. I couldn't figure it out. So instead I turned to a mocking library that I knew supported test spies: Mockery.

The code reads a lot smoother:

    // m is an alias to \Mockery
    $db = m::mock('stdClass');
    $db->shouldReceive('query')->with($update, ['id' => 1])->once();
    $db->shouldReceive('query')->with($delete, ['id' => 5])->once();

The first thing that jumps out at me is that the Mockery version looks cleaner. Well, really, it's only one less chained call. But looks do count for something.

More importantly, my test worked the first time with no weird error messaging about unexpected behaviour.

So the next time you are writing a unit test and need to create spies on methods of a mocked object, I cannot recommend enough that you take a look at Mockery.