Acceptance testing with Codeception and Vagrant

Jan 21, 2014

Codeception makes Selenium acceptance testing very easy, but getting it working in my Vagrant workflow was something of a challenge. The main question was:

Should I run my tests from the host machine or the virtual machine?

Running the tests on the virtual machine would be a lot easier, but there is one major problem: you have to use a headless browser for your Selenium tests. I've had success with the headless browser PhantomJS, but using a "real" browser has one big selling point: You can get a screenshot of the website at the point where it failed the test.

I've read that you can setup Firefox to run headlessly, but it was so complex I didn't think I'd be able to build it into my Vagrant provisioning script.

So, I've opted to run my test suite on my host machine. With acceptance testing, that's easy enough. Just configure Codeception's WebDriver module to access the site via your virtual server's host name. However, there is one problem:

Getting the database into a known state

Acceptance tests aren't much use if you don't know the state of the database. Codeception addresses this problem with its Db module which can, among other things, read in a database dump before each test.

However, to do that Codeception needs direct access to the database. Luckily, Vagrant makes this possible. Simply setup your virtual machine's mysql server to accept non-localhost connections. Then, configure Codeception to make its database connection using the your virtual machine's host name.

My acceptance.suite.yml looks like this:

class_name: WebGuy
- WebDriver
- Db
url: ''
browser: firefox
dsn: ';dbname=testdb'
user: 'root'
password: 'vagrant'
dump: 'tests/_data/dump.sql'
populate: true
cleanup: true