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Lesson 12 - Introduction to acceptance tests in PHP and creating GUI

In the previous lesson, Unit tests of Commercial Applications III, we finished an overview of the real-life commercial unit test examples. In today's advanced PHP tutorial, we're going to create a simple web application that uses our Calculator class. We'll let it to be clicked through automatically by the Selenium acceptance framework to see if it behaves as we expect. Finally, we're going to learn how to let our apps to be checked automatically to ensure everything works from the user's point of view! :)

As I've already mentioned, we'll stick with our calculator to avoid wasting our time by creating a new logic. The resulting app will look like this:

The calculator form for testing purposes in Selenium

The automated tests we're going to use today are called Acceptance Tests. They test the application's features, more precisely the user requirements for the application (we call these use cases), we've already said this in the introductory lesson.

Black-box tests

Just to be sure, let me repeat that we're talking about black-box tests. From the tester's point of view, we test the application from the outside (tests don't have access to the application's source code, we see it as the user, thus as a black box, that does what we expect - that's why we use the black-box term). We only have the tools that a regular web browser provides - we visit different URLs, we fill in forms, and we click on links. Then we use available methods to determine whether the application's output is the one we expect. Sometimes, of course, we can cheat and call some PHP logic to get in a situation which can't be simulated by the browser (e.g. to run a CRON task), but we try to avoid such hacks.

From practice

The acceptance tests are a level above the unit tests. To create them and especially to configure their runtime environment is more difficult, and


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In this tutorial, we'll begin an introduction to acceptance testing in PHP (clicking through our app automatically) and create a form for our class.

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Article has been written for you by David Capka
The author is a programmer, who likes web technologies and being the lead/chief article writer at He shares his knowledge with the community and is always looking to improve. He believes that anyone can do what they set their mind to.
Unicorn university The author learned IT at the Unicorn University - a prestigious college providing education on IT and economics.
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