How we chose a testing framework: Part 1

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Leigh Mardon

Reading time: 2 minutes

At blubolt, quality is of paramount importance. Not only is it a responsibility to users of our eCommerce platform, bluCommerce, but it’s also our pride and culture to build something with the knowledge that it will serve our users in the best possible way.

A big part of quality assurance is ensuring appropriate testing procedures are in place. Up until now, this has been a manual process within the development and release process (as well as regular additional testing through our partners), but in order to increase our pipeline efficiency and move one step closer to continuous delivery, we’ve been looking at automating more of our testing.

Acceptance testing is what we focused on first. Our existing manual testing targeted the end user, so it made sense to pick up from there.

As everyone in our development team is already familiar with PHP, it made sense to pick a PHP-based framework for bringing in automated testing. Codeception is a well-known testing framework that not only supports acceptance testing, but also other types of testing (functional testing, unit testing, etc.) and so it gives us room to expand on our testing processes in future.

For running the acceptance tests, Codeception offers several “drivers”, which can be useful depending on the level of interactivity required when running the tests.

We opted to run PhantomJS as a daemon on our standard development Vagrant setup. Performance was a massive factor in that decision, especially given the way testing fits in with our development process and how often the tests would need to be run (we ensure all tests successfully pass before any change can be pushed to the repo).

Running the test suite in a controlled Vagrant environment also ensures that any software dependencies (e.g. which version of PHP we’re running!) are properly met.

Setting up the framework for running the tests is just the beginning. In the next post in this series, we’ll look at writing the tests themselves!

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