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Lesson 9 - Unit Tests of Commercial Applications I

In the previous lesson, Fake, Codeception Stub and AspectMock, we finished mocking in PHPUnit, in Codeception, and AspectMock. In order to make the best possible preparation for practice, in the following two lessons, we're going to see interesting situations and approaches in unit tests that I chose from real-world commercial applications, especially from extensive tests of the internal system. You're going to understand how to test more difficult scenarios, learn how to mock native PHP functions, mock the superglobal $_GET, $_POST, and $_FILES arrays, test random data generators, compare images with tolerance, and other interesting testing techniques.

Date and time mocking

Let's consider a class that allows us to register cron tasks (scheduled tasks). In web applications, it's often necessary to perform different actions at time intervals. Perhaps the easiest example is sending newsletter emails, which should be sent in multiple batches, for example, only a few hundred emails per hour, otherwise your server will be considered as spam by e-mail providers. Other similar actions include various event reminders, posting to social networks, synchronizing currency rates, processing logs, and so on.

Once you have dozens of crons set up in your app, it's very difficult to maintain them through the server administration. That's why we created a TaskRunner class, bound to a single cron event, that is executed every 5 minutes. TaskRunner then triggers other events as they are registered in it.

But how to test the class when it's internally using the native PHP time() function? To avoid having to wait for an hour in the test for example, we'll create our own


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In this tutorial, we'll test the date and time in PHP using PHPUnit to simulate its changes and test how libraries response to them.

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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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