Mocking Symfony Container services in Behat scenarios with Mockery

Warning: This blog post was written a long time ago and might be no longer relevant.

Mocking objects in unit tests is pretty straightforward as every object used in a test case is usually created in a scope of one test class. In functional tests it's a bit harder since we either don't have full control over objects being created or it's simply too laborious to mock half the framework.

Instead of functional tests I'm using Behat. In the context of this blog post it satisfies the same need - verifies the external behavior of an application. It also brings similar problems.

Red Green

The Problem

Let's pretend we have to implement a contact form on our website. Information submitted by user should be pushed to an external CRM system as a potential lead. Of course our CRM system has an API which makes the whole thing possible.

As BDD preaches we should start with a scenario:

Feature: Submitting contact form
  As a Visitor
  I want to contact sales department
  In order to receive detailed information on one of the products

  Scenario: Submitting the form
    When I go to "/contact-us"
     And I complete the contact form with following information
       |First name|Last name|Email                |
       |Jakub     |Zalas    ||
     And CRM API is available
     And I submit the contact form
    Then a new lead should be sent to the CRM

In the controller, next to form handling, we also need code responsible for sending the lead to the CRM:

$crmClient = $this->get('crm.client');

We're getting the service from a container and calling a method which should send a lead. The problem is we don't want to actually call an API while executing Behat scenarios. We would quickly end up with a CRM polluted with lots of fake data and scenarios failing ocasionaly when the API is not accessible.

It'd also be hard to set up a scene for a scenario (like simulating a timeout during http request).

The fact is we don't want to test the client of a CRM API (unit tests or phpspec will do a better job here). We just need to know if the service was called or to simulate a behavior.

That's what mocks were invented for.

We need to mock the service.

The Solution

I came up with a simple bundle that allows service mocking with Mockery. It's called PSSMockeryBundle and you can download it from github.

Note: PSSMockeryBundle works with Behat <= 2.3. Use Symfony2MockerExtension with Behat >= 2.4.

At the moment bundle provides MockerContainer and MockerContainerContext. MockerContainer is a container class which enables service mocking. MockerContainerContext is a Behat context with generic step for expectation verification and a handy mockService() method.

The step "CRM API is available" defines our expectations on the state of CRM service. It says that API should work properly and that's the situation we have to prepare:

 * @Given /^CRM API is available$/
 * @return null
 public function crmApiIsAvailable()
         ->mockService('crm.client', 'PSS\Crm\Client')

Note: Container won't return the mock unless we first ask it to do so. In other words, it works as a regular container by default.

All the expectations are automatically checked after the scenario is executed (@afterScenario hook).

We can also do it manually which in some cases makes the scenario more readable:

 * @Given /^(a )?new lead should be sent to (the )?CRM$/
 * @return null
 public function aNewLeadShouldBeSentToTheCrm()
     return new Then(sprintf('the "%s" service should meet my expectations', 'crm.client'));

Note: The the "<serviceId>" service should meet my expectations step is provided by MockerContainerContext.

Feedback much appreciated

This is my second attempt to solve this problem. It's much better than the first one (don't even worth a mention). I'm using this approach in my projects and it already proved to be working (at least so far). But I'd love to get your feedback.

Big thanks to Luis Cordova who exercised the MockerContainerContext in PHPSpec's WebSpec examples (read his blog post).

Jakub Zalas

Jakub Zalas

Agile PHP Developer, addicted to BDD and Symfony