Testing via phpUnit

Apex fully integrates with the popular phpUnit to allow for unit tests. If you are not currently familiar with phpUnit, please take a look at the below two links to help familiarize yourself with it.

NOTE: When running unit tests, you will probably want to modify the /phpunit.xml file, line 13, and change the directory to your package directory of /tests/PACKAGE_ALIAS. This will help avoid any errors / failures due to misconfiguration with regards to testing the other packages.

Below contains links to the sections within this page:

  1. Creating / Executing Test Classes
  2. http_request($uri, $method, $post, $get, $cookie)
  3. send_cli($action, $params)
  4. invoke_method($object, $method, $params)
  5. waitException($message)
  6. get_demo_user($type = 'user')
  7. auto_login()
  8. Testing E-Mail messages
  9. Custom Assertions

Creating / Executing Test Classes

Create a new test class by simply opening up terminal, change to the installation directory, and type: php apex.php create test PACKAGE:ALIAS

This will create a file at /tests/PACKAGE/ALIAS.php which you may modify as needed, and add your test methods which will be executed by phpUnit. You can then automatically run the unit tests with:


string $this->http_request($uri, [$method = 'GET'], [array $post = array()], [array $get = array()], [array $cookie = array()])

Description: A very useful method you will probably find yourself using often while writing your unit tests. This will emulate a HTTP request to any page within the software, and return the response. Useful to allow the unit tests to emulate a human being going through the online system.


Variable Type Description
$uri string The URI which to request (eg. /register, /admin/settings/mypackage, etc.)
$method string Should always be either GET or POST, and is the request method of the request. Defaults to GET.
$post array Array containing any variables you would like POSTed to the request.
$get array Array of any GET values you would like included within the request (ie. the query string)
$cookie array Optional array of any cookie key-value pairs you would like included within the request.


namespace tests\mypackage;

use apex\app;
use apex\app\tests\test;

class test_myclass extends test

 * Test a login
public function test_login()

    // Set post varaibles
    $request = array(
        'username' => 'myuser',
        'password' => 'mypass',
        'submit' => 'login'

    // Send request
    $html = $this->http_request('/login', 'POST', $request);
    $this->assertPageTitle("Welcome to the member's area");



The above example will send a POST request to /login on the system, emulating a user submitting the public login form.

string $this->send_cli(string $action, array $params = [])

Description: Emulates a CLI command being run on the "apex" script, and simply takes the action to execute and any additional paramters.

Example: $response = $this->send_cli('create', array('lib', 'mypackage:some_lib'));

mixed $this->invoke_methoe($object, string $method, array $params = array())

Description: Allows you to access protected / private methods within your classes for testing purposes.


Variable Type Description
$object object An instance of the object where the method resides.
$method string The name of the method to call.
$params array Optional name based array of params to pass to the method.


function test_sometest()

    // Call the get_password() method of the reseller class, which is a private method
    $reseller = new reseller();
    $pass = $this->invoke_method($reseller, 'get_password', array('userid' => 54));


Description: Allows you to catch an expected exception thrown by Apex. Only takes one parameter, which is a partial string of the expected exception message. The assertion will pass assuming the exception message contains the passed parameter. Please note, never add additional code into the test method below the code that spawns the exception, as it will not be executed.


function test_something()

    $this->waitException('Some error occured');
    $client = new some_client();

    // No code below this line will get executed //


$this->get_demo_user($type = 'user');

Description: Used to obtain the ID# of the demo user / administrator for testing purposes. This is the user specified within the server variables inside the phpunit.xml file. If the user does not currently exist, it will be automatically created for cases where the user was previously deleted by another test, you will always be able to obtain the ID# with this method.

auth::auto_login(int $userid)

Description: Useful to auto-login a user to the administration panel or member's area for testing purposes. If logging into the administration panel, you must first set the area to "admin" via the app::set_area($area) method. You only need to login once per-session, as the authenticated session will remain within all tests once first initiated.


function test_something()

    // Login admin ID# 1

    // Do the tests ///

Testing E-Mail / Messages

While executing unit tests, Apex will store all outgoing e-mail, SMS and web socket messages in a queue, allowing you to easily lookup and test to ensure messages were sent out and formatted properly. For full information, please visit the Testing E-Mail Messages page.

Custom Assertions

On top of all the standard assertions provided by phpUnit, Apex also offers various additional assertions to help aid in the writing of unit tests. These can all be executed exactly as phpUnit assertions, such as for example within one of your test classes you could use:

function test_sometest()

    // Send request
    $html = $this->http_request('/admin/casinos/games');

    // Check the page title
    $this->assertPageTitle('Manage Casino Games');

    // Check for a callout
    $this->assertHasCallout('success', "Successfully created new casino game");

The below table lists all custom assertions available to your unit tests within Apex.

Method Description
assertPageTitle($title) Checks the page title of the last test request sent to see if it matches $title. The inverse is assertNotPageTitle.
assertPageTitleContains($text) Checks if the page title contains the specified $text. Inverse is assertPageTitleNotContains.
assertPageContains($text) Checks if the page contents anywhere contains $text. Inverse is assertPageNotContains.
assertHasCallout($type, $message) Checks if the most recent page requested contains a user message / callout with the type of $type~ (success, error, or info) and contains the text in$message. The inverse isassertNotHasCallout`
assertHasFormError($type, $field_name) Checks if the page has a form validation error given by the forms::validate_form() method of the specified type (blank, email, alphanum) on the specified form field. Inverse of this method is assertNotHasFormError.
assertHasHeading($hnum, $text) Checks if the page contains a tag with the specified text. Inverse of this method is assertNotHasHeading.
assertHasSubmit($value, $label) Checks if the last requested page contains a submit button with the specified value and label. The inverse of this method is assertNotHasSubmit.
assertHasTable($table_alias) Checks if the page contains a HTML table component with the alias in Apex format (ie. PACKAGE:ALIAS) that is displayed via the ae:function> tag. Inverse of this method is assertNotHasTable.
assertHasTableField($table_alias, $col_num, $value) Checks if the specified HTML tab has a row containing the specified value in the specified column number. Inverse of this method is assertNotHasTableField.
assertHasDBRow($sql) Checks if one row exists in the mySQL database with the specified SQL query. Inverse of this method is assertNotHasDBRow.
assertHasDBField($sql, $column, $value) Retrives one row from the database with the specified SQL statement, and checks if the specified column name matches the value. The inverse of this method is aasertNotHasDBField.
assertHasFormField($name) Checkes if the last page requested contains a form field with the specified name. The inverse of this method is assertNotHasFormField
assertStringContains($string, $text) Checks if the provided string contains the specified text. Inverse of this method is assertStringNotContains.
assertFileContains($filename, $text) Checks if the specified file contains the specified text within its contents. Inverse of this method is assertFileNotContains.

Need a Professional?

Need development work by the creator of Apex? E-mail matt.dizak@gmail.com for a free consultation.

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