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php – Dynamically create PHPUnit tests from data-file

Posted by: admin July 12, 2020 Leave a comment


I have a data file with input and expected outputs. An example could be:

input:   output:
2        3
3        5
4        Exception
5        8
...      ...

Currently I have a custom solution to read from the data file and perform a test for each {input,output} pair. I would like to convert this into a PHPUnit based solution and I would like to have one test per input using the test name forXassertY. So the first three tests would be called for2assert3(), for3assert5() and for4assertException().

I do not want to convert my existing data to tests if it’s possible to create the test methods dynamically and keep the data file as the basis of these tests. I want to convert it to PHPUnit as I want to add some other tests later on and also process and view the output using Hudson.


How to&Answers:

You can use PHPUnit’s data providers for this:


require_once 'PHPUnit/Framework/TestCase.php';

class ProviderTest extends PHPUnit_Framework_TestCase
    public function testCaseProvider()
        // parse your data file however you want
        $data = array();
        foreach (file('test_data.txt') as $line) {
            $data[] = explode("\t", trim($line));

        return $data;

     * @dataProvider testCaseProvider
    public function testAddition($num1, $num2, $expectedResult)
        $this->assertEquals($expectedResult, $num1 + $num2);


and your test_data.txt file looks something like this:

1   2   3
2   2   4
3   5   7

Then run the test:

$ phpunit ProviderTest.php
PHPUnit 3.4.12 by Sebastian Bergmann.


Time: 0 seconds, Memory: 5.75Mb

There was 1 failure:

1) ProviderTest::testAddition with data set #2 ('3', '5', '7')
Failed asserting that two strings are equal.
--- Expected
+++ Actual
@@ @@


Tests: 4, Assertions: 3, Failures: 1.


Well, PHP files are just text files, so you can write a TestGenerator.php script that would read in the data file and spit out a bunch of .php test files. The Test Generator script would be as simple as “read the line, parse it, spit out the PHP”. Then, just run that test generator script as a part of your build/test run process, and you’re good to go.