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Testing PHP projects

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This guide covers basic building instructions for PHP projects.

Two testing scenarios are covered: using the Docker executor and using the Shell executor.

Test PHP projects using the Docker executor

While it is possible to test PHP apps on any system, this would require manual configuration from the developer. To overcome this we use the official PHP Docker image that can be found in Docker Hub.

This allows us to test PHP projects against different versions of PHP. However, not everything is plug 'n' play, you still need to configure some things manually.

As with every job, you need to create a valid .gitlab-ci.yml describing the build environment.

Let's first specify the PHP image that is used for the job process. (You can read more about what an image means in the runner's lingo reading about Using Docker images.)

Start by adding the image to your .gitlab-ci.yml:

image: php:5.6

The official images are great, but they lack a few useful tools for testing. We need to first prepare the build environment. A way to overcome this is to create a script which installs all prerequisites prior the actual testing is done.

Let's create a ci/ file in the root directory of our repository with the following content:


# We need to install dependencies only for Docker
[[ ! -e /.dockerenv ]] && exit 0

set -xe

# Install git (the php image doesn't have it) which is required by composer
apt-get update -yqq
apt-get install git -yqq

# Install phpunit, the tool that we will use for testing
curl --location --output /usr/local/bin/phpunit ""
chmod +x /usr/local/bin/phpunit

# Install mysql driver
# Here you can install any other extension that you need
docker-php-ext-install pdo_mysql

You might wonder what docker-php-ext-install is. In short, it is a script provided by the official PHP Docker image that you can use to easily install extensions. For more information read the documentation.

Now that we created the script that contains all prerequisites for our build environment, let's add it in .gitlab-ci.yml:

  - bash ci/ > /dev/null

Last step, run the actual tests using phpunit:

    - phpunit --configuration phpunit_myapp.xml

Finally, commit your files and push them to GitLab to see your build succeeding (or failing).

The final .gitlab-ci.yml should look similar to this:

  # Select image from
  image: php:5.6
    # Install dependencies
    - bash ci/ > /dev/null

    - phpunit --configuration phpunit_myapp.xml

Test against different PHP versions in Docker builds

Testing against multiple versions of PHP is super easy. Just add another job with a different Docker image version and the runner does the rest:

    # Install dependencies
    - bash ci/ > /dev/null

# We test PHP5.6
  image: php:5.6
    - phpunit --configuration phpunit_myapp.xml

# We test PHP7.0 (good luck with that)
  image: php:7.0
    - phpunit --configuration phpunit_myapp.xml

Custom PHP configuration in Docker builds

There are times where you need to customise your PHP environment by putting your .ini file into /usr/local/etc/php/conf.d/. For that purpose add a before_script action:

  - cp my_php.ini /usr/local/etc/php/conf.d/test.ini

Of course, my_php.ini must be present in the root directory of your repository.

Test PHP projects using the Shell executor

The shell executor runs your job in a terminal session on your server. To test your projects, you must first ensure that all dependencies are installed.

For example, in a VM running Debian 8, first update the cache, and then install phpunit and php5-mysql:

sudo apt-get update -y
sudo apt-get install -y phpunit php5-mysql

Next, add the following snippet to your .gitlab-ci.yml:

    - phpunit --configuration phpunit_myapp.xml

Finally, push to GitLab and let the tests begin!

Test against different PHP versions in Shell builds

The phpenv project allows you to easily manage different versions of PHP each with its own configuration. This is especially useful when testing PHP projects with the Shell executor.

You have to install it on your build machine under the gitlab-runner user following the upstream installation guide.

Using phpenv also allows to easily configure the PHP environment with:

phpenv config-add my_config.ini

Important note: It seems phpenv/phpenv is abandoned. There is a fork at madumlao/phpenv that tries to bring the project back to life. CHH/phpenv also seems like a good alternative. Picking any of the mentioned tools works with the basic phpenv commands. Guiding you to choose the right phpenv is out of the scope of this tutorial.*

Install custom extensions

Since this is a pretty bare installation of the PHP environment, you may need some extensions that are not currently present on the build machine.

To install additional extensions, execute:

pecl install <extension>

It's not advised to add this to .gitlab-ci.yml. You should execute this command once, only to set up the build environment.

Extend your tests

Using atoum

Instead of PHPUnit, you can use any other tool to run unit tests. For example you can use atoum:

    - wget
    - php mageekguy.atoum.phar

Using Composer

The majority of the PHP projects use Composer for managing their PHP packages. To execute Composer before running your tests, add the following to your .gitlab-ci.yml:

# Composer stores all downloaded packages in the vendor/ directory.
# Do not use the following if the vendor/ directory is committed to
# your git repository.
      - vendor/
    # Install composer dependencies
    - wget -O - -q | tr -d '\n' > installer.sig
    - php -r "copy('', 'composer-setup.php');"
    - php -r "if (hash_file('SHA384', 'composer-setup.php') === file_get_contents('installer.sig')) { echo 'Installer verified'; } else { echo 'Installer corrupt'; unlink('composer-setup.php'); } echo PHP_EOL;"
    - php composer-setup.php
    - php -r "unlink('composer-setup.php'); unlink('installer.sig');"
    - php composer.phar install

Access private packages or dependencies

If your test suite needs to access a private repository, you need to configure the SSH keys to be able to clone it.

Use databases or other services

Most of the time, you need a running database for your tests to be able to run. If you're using the Docker executor, you can leverage Docker to link to other containers. With GitLab Runner, this can be achieved by defining a service.

This functionality is covered in the CI services documentation.

Testing things locally

With GitLab Runner 1.0 you can also test any changes locally. From your terminal execute:

# Check using docker executor
gitlab-runner exec docker test:app

# Check using shell executor
gitlab-runner exec shell test:app

Example project

We have set up an Example PHP Project for your convenience that runs on using our publicly available instance runners.

Want to hack on it? Fork it, commit, and push your changes. Within a few moments the changes are picked by a public runner and the job begins.