I'm following civix's upgrade instructions to enable unit tests to be executed with standalone phpunit.

I've got my code in a work-in-progress git branch. The first commit captures the civix-generated boilerplate phpunit.xml.dist and bootstrap.php. The second commit captures my attempts to adapt an existing test to the new way of doing things.

With these changes in place, I do:

$ cd /path/to/webroot/sites/all/modules/civicrm/tools/extensions/civivolunteer
$ phpunit4 tests/phpunit/api/v3/VolunteerProjectTest.php

... and get:

PHP Fatal error:  Class 'VolunteerTestAbstract' not found in /path/to/webroot/sites/all/modules/civicrm/tools/extensions/civivolunteer/tests/phpunit/api/v3/VolunteerProjectTest.php on line 6
PHP Stack trace:
PHP   1. {main}() /usr/local/lib/civicrm-buildkit/bin/phpunit4:0
PHP   2. PHPUnit_TextUI_Command::main() /usr/local/lib/civicrm-buildkit/bin/phpunit4:545
PHP   3. PHPUnit_TextUI_Command->run() phar:///usr/local/lib/civicrm-buildkit/bin/phpunit4/phpunit/TextUI/Command.php:100
PHP   4. PHPUnit_Runner_BaseTestRunner->getTest() phar:///usr/local/lib/civicrm-buildkit/bin/phpunit4/phpunit/TextUI/Command.php:123
PHP   5. PHPUnit_Runner_BaseTestRunner->loadSuiteClass() phar:///usr/local/lib/civicrm-buildkit/bin/phpunit4/phpunit/Runner/BaseTestRunner.php:67
PHP   6. PHPUnit_Runner_StandardTestSuiteLoader->load() phar:///usr/local/lib/civicrm-buildkit/bin/phpunit4/phpunit/Runner/BaseTestRunner.php:123
PHP   7. PHPUnit_Util_Fileloader::checkAndLoad() phar:///usr/local/lib/civicrm-buildkit/bin/phpunit4/phpunit/Runner/StandardTestSuiteLoader.php:39
PHP   8. PHPUnit_Util_Fileloader::load() phar:///usr/local/lib/civicrm-buildkit/bin/phpunit4/phpunit/Util/Fileloader.php:38
PHP   9. include_once() phar:///usr/local/lib/civicrm-buildkit/bin/phpunit4/phpunit/Util/Fileloader.php:56

Any suggestions?

2 Answers 2


Civi's autoloader does not load classes outside the CRM directory. In order for that to work, you'll have a few options:

  • Implement your own autoloader capable of loading classes inside the test/phpunit dir
  • Use require to include the class
  • Put the VolunteerTestAbstract class inside your CRM dir

I usually use the second option for that and include/require the class(es) on the bootstrap.php file.

I also like the third option. For that, you would put the class somewhere like CRM_Volunteer_Test_VolunteerTestAbstract and then just extend it. No need for requires or to implement your own autoloader.

  • Thanks, Davi. Have called it a day but will have another look over the weekend. Nov 12, 2016 at 2:29

This is an issue with intermediate base-classes for tests (like VolunteerTestAbstract). The most reliable solution I've found is to put a require_once to load the intermediate base-class. For example, this is what I used in uk.co.vedaconsulting.mosaico:

require_once __DIR__ . '/TestCase.php';

class CRM_Mosaico_MosaicoTemplateTest extends CRM_Mosaico_TestCase implements EndToEndInterface {

Unfortunately, it's hard to combine PHPUnit with a classloader that understands extensions. To see why, consider an example command:

phpunit4 tests/phpunit/CRM/Mosaico/MosaicoTemplateTest.php

Which would then:

  • A. Load test files, e.g.
    1. Load tests/phpunit/bootstrap.php
    2. Load tests/phpunit/CRM/Mosaico/MosaicoTemplateTest.php (which depends on a base class like CRM_Mosaico_TestCase)
    3. Load tests/phpunit/CRM/Mosaico/TestCase.php
  • B. Begin executing the test logic, e.g.
    1. Execute CiviTestListener
    2. Execute setupBeforeClass()
    3. Execute setUp()

The problem arises if the database-initialization (eg \Civi\Test::headless()->installMe(__DIR__)->apply()) is put in phase B test-logic (e.g. CiviTestListener or setupBeforeClass() or setUp()) . The database-initialization determines which extensions are active. The active extensions determine the class-loader. But all of this comes too late. During steps A2=>A3 (when we need autoloading), the extension-enabled class-loader isn't available yet.

Put another way: any code which references an autoloaded extension class has an implicit dependency on the database.

One can resolve this conundrum a couple ways, e.g.

  • In tests/phpunit/bootstrap.php, fully initialize the system. (Ex: In the line eval(cv('php:boot --level=classloader', 'phpcode'));, change the --level to settings or full.) This makes sense if all the tests are end-to-end (e2e).
  • Load classes in a way which does not implicitly depend on the database. The simplest thing is to do a require_once to load the target class. (EDIT: What's a nice place to put the require_once statement? I originally put it in each test class, but on second thought... it would be more elegant to put it in tests/phpunit/boostrap.php.)

(I'm writing this to help me get the problem a bit clearer in mind... hopefully that will eventually lead to a better solution...)

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