PHP – PHPUnit – Use PHPUnit Without PEAR



PHPUnit is a great tool to protect us developers from introducing new defects when adding new features or re-factoring code. However there is one HUGE downside to PHPUnit; it must be installed using PEAR. Personally, I don’t like ‘auto-installers’, I’d prefer to know what exactly is happening behind the scenes with regards to which libraries are required and how they are being called. So when I needed to use PHPUnit on a recent project I shed a tear thinking I would have to break down and install using PEAR.

PHPUnit is not a mythical creature, it doesn’t have magical powers, and as such, it should not intimidate us. It is PHP code, plain and simple, and like any other PHP API Libraries it can be interwoven into our application. So after breaking down the PHPUnit source code, I realized it could be installed without going through PEAR, and without too much headache.

I wrote this article with the goal that it may help others, and maybe even make it’s way to the lead developer of PHPUnit, where he may start using a better autoloading strategy. However, I must warn you to not hold me responsible for any “issues” that may arise on your system by following this article, as it’s strictly demonstrative at this point. There may come a time where I add this code to a GIT repo and officially support it, but not at this point. If you are ok with that, then read on.

Also, note that you can change any of the following guidelines to suit your specific needs. What I am outlining here worked for me, but may not work for you, so feel free to change what you need to, in order to accomplish your end game.

Base Directories

To make things work, we need a base directories from which to work. As with any setting throughout this article, you can change to meet your needs.

Test directory

This directory will be where we put our actual unit tests:


Vendor directory

This directory will be the location where we download and extract PHPUnit source code:


Source Code:

Now that we have our directories in place, lets get PHPUnit source code. Normally you would use PEAR to download, extract, and prepare the source code, but personally I don’t like things of this nature being done for me, I am a big boy, I can handle it myself. So I download each of the core packages manually, then extract them, and set their correct directories in preparation for the next ‘Symlinks‘ step.

The PHPUnit developer uses Github as their version control repo, which is good, but sucks when trying to download packages, as the actual files are abstracted by an intermediary PHP script. What I ended up having to do was download to my local machine, then secure copy them over to the server. Once you have the source files on the server, run the following steps:

$ -> cd ~/projects/vendor

$ -> mkdir phpunit

$ -> cd phpunit

$ -> cp ~/ .

$ -> unzip

# The unzip will result in a weird hash, so I just rename it to
# the correct version based on the original file name
$ -> mv sebastianbergmann-phpunit-f5e159b/ 3.6.7-9

# Don't need source file anymore
$ -> rm *.zip

# Now, we have phpunit locked into a version which we can quickly
# glean when we inspect symlinks to this library
# Lets get the other necessary packages
$ -> mkdir lib

$ -> cd lib
$ -> pwd

# Setup base dirs for phpunit add-ons
$ -> mkdir codeCoverage fileIterator timer

# Now lets copy our add-ons into their respective dirs
$ -> cp ~/ codeCoverage
$ -> cp ~/ timer

# File iterator lib allows you to set a root directory, and phpunit will traverse the directory looking for unit tests
$ -> cp ~/ fileIterator

# Now that we have the files in our lib directory, lets get them setup
$ -> cd codeCoverage
$ -> pwd

$ -> unzip
$ -> mv sebastianbergmann-php-code-coverage-dc2a15a/ 1.1.1-14
$ -> rm *.zip

$ -> cd ../fileIterator
$ -> pwd

$ -> unzip
$ -> mv sebastianbergmann-php-file-iterator-bbaab46/ 1.3.1-1
$ -> rm *.zip

$ -> cd ../timer
$ -> pwd

$ -> unzip
$ -> mv sebastianbergmann-php-timer-b352e92/ 1.0.2-5
$ -> rm *.zip

Ok, now you should have phpunit and it’s core libraries “installed” on your server. In this context, installed is a loose term, as the code isn’t really installed, it’s now available to be hooked into from your testing environment.


As with any 3rd party APIs introduced into your application, it is always best to abstract away version numbers, so you don’t force your application to require files with version numbers in a file’s uri. For example:

// Good
require_once 'path/to/ThirdParty_Vendor/Api/Class.php';

// Bad
require_once 'path/to/ThirdParty_Vendor-1.1.1-9/Api/Class.php';

Why does this matter? Because, when a new version of the file is released, and you upgrade, you won’t have to update all the code references. Instead, just change the related symlink and your application will work as before, except with the newer version of the file.

So lets make the PHPUnit libraries available to our testing environment:

$ -> cd ~/projects/core/test
$ -> mkdir lib
$ -> cd lib
$ -> pwd

$ -> ln -s ~/projects/vendor/phpunit/3.6.7-9/PHPUnit
$ -> ln -s ~/projects/vendor/phpunit/lib/codeCoverage/1.1.1-14/PHP PHPCodeCoverage
$ -> ln -s ~/projects/vendor/phpunit/lib/fileIterator/1.3.1-1/File PHPFileIterator
$ -> ln -s ~/projects/vendor/phpunit/lib/timer/1.0.2-5/PHP PHPTimer

Ok, now we have hooks to phpunit libraries within our testing directory, onto the next step.


A bootstrapper is meant to prepare a library for usage, and that’s exactly what we are going to do. This bootstrapper will setup include_paths along with a few other settings so we can use run our tests correctly. The code is posted here, otherwise it’s too hard to read in wordpress.


Here’s where the magic lies. This autoloader will know how to map files that PHPUnit is requiring, to their symlinked location. It’s pretty easy to follow, all we do is check for a namespace footprint (PHP_Timer), and if it exists, re-map it to our symlink (PHPTimer). The code is posted here, otherwise it’s too hard to read in wordpress.

Changes to PHPUnit Source code

Now for the ugly. It is NEVER a good idea to edit 3rd party (vendor) code directly, otherwise you update and forget about the changes and your app goes to hell. However in this instance I had no choice, and fortunately I was able to limit the change to just one location in the PHPUnit source code. It is a trivial change, but you should add a README to your ~/projects/vendor/phpunit directory to remind yourself to make this change for future upgrades (assuming the lead developer doesn’t change it himself).

My README file:

When upgrading phpunit, 1 change must be made to ensure unit tests work

Why:    This allows us to use our own autloader
File:   PHPUnit/Util/GlobalState.php
Line:   98
    From:    protected static $phpunitFiles;
    To:      public static $phpunitFiles;

This change makes it so we can override the singleton $phpunitfiles. If we don’t over-ride it, then PHPUnit will attempt to use it’s built-in autoloader, which doesn’t work with our setup. By setting the scope from protected to public, we can over-ride the value with an empty array, as the conditional used in source code check is ‘ === NULL’.

phpunit executable

Now we need to create the phpunit executable which will kick off the unit testing. When I was going through the PHPUnit source code, I noticed that the PEAR installer was just renaming the phpunit.php to phpunit. So, lets copy the phpunit executable which came with PHPUnit to our test directory and make a few minor changes:

$ -> pwd

$ -> cp ~/projects/vendor/phpunit/3.6.7-9/phpunit.php .

Now, make the following changes:

#!/usr/bin/env php

// Bring in our bootstrap file
require_once substr(__FILE__, 0, strpos(__FILE__, '/test')) . '/test/Bootstrap.php';

// Set our main define
define('PHPUnit_MAIN_METHOD', 'PHPUnit_TextUI_Command::main');

// Remember we set the scope of $phpunitfiles to public?
// Now we can set it to whatever we want, which is just an empty
// array, which allows our autoloader to handle loading files
PHPUnit_Util_GlobalState::$phpunitFiles = array();

// Kick this pig

Home Stretch

Finally, we made it. Now, we can call on the phpunit executable and run tests. First lets create a sample test:

$ -> pwd

$ -> touch CoreTest/ArrayTest.php

Now lets add an easy test:

class CoreTest_Api_Array_PackageTest extends PHPUnit_Framework_TestCase{
     public function testCount()
         $this->assertCount(2, array('foo', 'bar'));

Now, run the test:

$ -> pwd

$ -> ./phpunit/CoreTest/

Now your ArrayTest test should run (and pass). Notice that we passed a directory to the ./phpunit executable, you can pass a directory, or a specific test to meet your needs. The PHPFileIterator we setup will parse directories for any files ending in *Test.


Hopefully this article wasn’t too hard to follow, and your unit tests are running though PHPUnit, as if you installed through PEAR. If you wouldn’t mind taking the time to contact the lead developer, and let him know that he should drop PEAR and run an autoloader/bootstrap combo like many other PHP libraries/frameworks, I would greatly appreciate it. He has done a good job, but we need to make PHPUnit easier to install and set-up so others don’t get discouraged and give up unit tests altogether.

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Linux – PHP – Apache – HTTP Error 500


Had a weird issue where my demo server was throwing 500 error when a request was made. I spent time digging into my nginx configs to see if there were a issue, once I was able to determine it was not nginx, I started tearing apart my apache vhosts to see what the issue was. It was tough to track down because neither nginx nor apache error logs were logging anything out of the ordinary.

I came across a post where someone suggested using the following command after making a request:

find /var/log/ -mmin -1

This command will return any files whose modtimes are less than a minute old. When I issued the command I noticed that my PHP error log was listed, so I tailed the error log and issued another request. Sure enough, an exception was being thrown because my bootstrap file for my core library could not make a needed database connection.

Now that I was aware that an exception was causing my apache server to issue a 500 response, I still couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t outputting the exception message. I started digging around my php.ini file and found that I had set `display_errors=off`. With display_errors set to off, apache will issue a 500 response rather than output the exception, which is a good thing b/c the exception message had some database connection information.

So if you are setting up an apache/php server and it’s throwing a 500 response, check the php error log too, you may have the same setup.

Also, I read that this type of behavior will occur if the php.ini file could not be read.

PHP – __callStatic() – Method Overloading


In case you weren’t aware, PHP 5.3.x+ has provided a new method known as __callStatic(), which works the same as __call(), but as you may have guessed, it can be called statically. You can get more info from


class Foo
    public static function __callStatic($name, $params)
        return 'Called ' . $name . ' with ' . implode(',', $params);

echo Foo::bar(array('This is my message));

PHP – Facebook PHP and JS SDK – Upgrade from 2.x to 3.0


Just finished upgrading our facebook SDKs for work and ran into some issues. I wanted to repost them here in case anyone runs into the same issues.

When googling the topic of how to upgrade Facebook’s PHP SDK the top result was , so I started reading and the changes appeared to be minor. Simply change the references from “session” to “user”.

After making the necessary updates in code and using the 3.0 version of the Facebook PHP SDK files I started to run into infinite redirect issues. in version 2.x the ‘next’ param was used, but in 3.0 it appears they replaced it with ‘redirect_uri’. Once I renamed ‘next’ to ‘redirect_uri’ everything worked as expected.

As far as the JS SDK is concerned it appears that as long as you require the correct .js library you will be using the new SDK.

You can view the original question and responses @ .

— Edit (9.1.2011)

Be AWARE! When upgrading from 2.x to 3.x Facebook changed the ‘req_perms’ to ‘scope’. If you do not change your param for generating loginUrl you will not get access to user’s sensitive information such as email address.

PHP – Deep Clone an Object


Cloning an object in PHP is advantageous at times when you want to make a copy of an object so you can alter the copied object’s properties without affecting the original object’s properties.

Reading the docs on, cloning an object is pretty straight forward:

class Car
    public $type;
    public $color;

$myCar = new Car();

$myCar->type = 'sports';
$myCar->color = 'red';

$herCar = clone $myCar;

$herCar->color = 'pink;

var_dump('My car | style: ' . $myCar->style . ' | color: ' . $myCar->color);
// Outputs string(35) "My car | style: sports | color: red"

var_dump('Her car | style: ' . $herCar->style . ' | color: ' . $herCar->color);
// Outputs string(37) "Her car | style: sports | color: pink"
// Notice her style is same as mine, but her color is different

Pretty straight forward right? I was able to instantiate an object, set style and color member vars, then clone $myCar object, then set a different value for color member var on cloned object.

As php mentions, references to first level values are maintained, but what about if your object returns another object? Consider the following code:


class Car
    public $style;
    public $color;
    protected $tire;

     public function getTire()
         if (!($this->tire instanceof Tire)) {
             $this->tire = new Tire();

         return $this->tire;

class Tire
    public $size;
    public $rating;

$myCar = new Car();

$myCar->style   = 'sports';
$myCar->color   = 'red';

$myCar->getTire()->size = '20';
$myCar->getTire()->rating = 'Z';

$herCar = clone $myCar;

$herCar->color = 'pink';

$herCar->getTire()->size = '18';
$herCar->getTire()->rating = 'R';

var_dump('My car | style: ' . $myCar->style . ' | color: ' . $myCar->color);
// Outputs same as above

var_dump('Her car | style: ' . $herCar->style . ' | color: ' . $herCar->color);
// Outputs same as above

var_dump('My car tires | size: ' . $myCar->getTire()->size . ' | rating: ' . $myCar->getTire()->rating);
// Outputs string(35) "My car tires | size: 18 | rating: R"
// Notice that my tire settings were over-ridden by her tire settings

var_dump('Her car tires | size: ' . $herCar->getTire()->size . ' | rating: ' . $herCar->getTire()->rating);
// Outputs string(36) "Her car tires | size: 18 | rating: R"
// This is what we expected

As you can see in the above example, any ‘nested’ objects are ignored via the clone call. Thanks to Wayne Haffenden, there is a way to resolve this situation, you can view his blog post @ He came up with a clever way of ensuring that any nested objects are also cloned by serializing the object then unserializing upon return. Consider the following code:

class Object
    // Can't call it clone b/c it's a reserved word
    public static function cloneIt($object)
        return (is_object($object)) ? unserialize(serialize($object)) : null;

// Instead of making call to php clone, make call to new class::clone
$herCar = Object::cloneIt($myCar);

After adding the code to the original script, when you rerun it you get the following output:

string(35) "My car | style: sports | color: red"
string(37) "Her car | style: sports | color: pink"
string(35) "My car tires | size: 20 | rating: Z"  // Eureka!
string(36) "Her car tires | size: 18 | rating: R"

As you can see from the output, we were able to maintain our original tire settings which demonstrates that we were able to perform a ‘deep’ clone where nested objects are cloned as well.

Thanks to Wayne for posting his findings, and I hth.


PHP – Upgrade to PHP 5.3.x – Things to Look out for


When upgrading to php 5.3.x there will be some issues to look out for before you deploy to production, this thread is meant to contain those issues for easy reference.

date.timezone (php.ini)

PHP developers decreased the error level for not initializing timezone correctly, adjusting from strict to warning. Chances are you will start to see some warnings surrounding your date() calls. To rectify this, simply make the following change to your php.ini file:

date.timezone = America/Los_Angeles

Make sure the entry is uncommented, and set the value to whichever value you need (a list can be found @


In PHP 5.3, the magic __toString() methods no longer allow you to pass in arguments, which makes sense on some level, but does reduce flexibility.


Just found out about this one recently. According to some comments from the PHP docs on substr, in 5.2 php internally cast the 2nd argument; start, to an int. So if you put in a string it would probably just cast to 0, and not error out. However in php 5.3, these errors started showing up, so I had to convert all substr calles to stripos calls, where it made sense of course.

PDO Bind Param – Pass by Reference

Just came across another one.

// Results in pass by reference warning
$stmt->bindParam(1, $object->getValue());

// How to fix
$value = $object->getValue();

$stmt->bindParam(1, $value);

PHP – Array – Shuffle() gotcha


Be careful when using PHP’s shuffle() function, it will reset your keys. Why does this matter? What if you had an associative array? Or, if you populate arrays with DB data and set an array key to the primary key of a db row.

There are some user contributed functions which will maintain existing keys, but IMO PHP dev team should add a MAINTAIN_KEYS flag or something so it can be used on the source level and not the PHP level.

PHP – Compilation – Make Clean


Came across an issue while I was installing XDebug on my development server. I wanted to add  xdebug specific params to a seperate .ini file saved as xdebug.ini  (vs. adding to tail-end of php.ini file). To support this I had to make php scan additional ini directories during httpd start-up, so I  added ‘–with-config-file-scan-dir=/some/path’ to the configure command.

Well after executing make and make install commands,  I would loadup a phpinfo.php script which simply echoed phpinfo(), and noticed that the “Scan this dir for additional .ini files” directive was empty. I was confused about this, because I explicitly added a path to the configure command.

After spending some time checking stuff out, I realized I forgot to execute ‘make clean’, which purges out all the previous compilation’s temp make files etc. So I executed the following commands:

make clean


make install

With the added ‘make clean’ command everything worked as expected when I reloaded the phpinfo() script.

PHP – Wrap Implode Array Elements in Quotes


Implode in PHP is a convenience function which will convert an array into a string of array elements seperated by $glue. Yesterday I needed a way to easily wrap these elements within quotes (to echo out for a javascript array) and didn’t want to write a foreach loop to do what implode does already.

To wrap the array elements in quotes, or anything for that matter, use the following:

$myArray = array('A', 'B', 'C');

echo "'" . implode("','", $myArray) . "'"; //Displays 'A', 'B', 'C'

echo implode(',', $myArray); //Displays A, B, C

News – Facebook’s ‘HipHop PHP’ Available as Open Source


Have no idea why they code-named it ‘hip hop’ but if the article is correct, it could mean a huge boon for the PHP community. Less resource usage equals less servers equals more money available for R&D into new web technologies.

+100 to Facebook development team for not only optimizing a widely used language, but making it available as open source. Grats guys on this exciting result and look forward to working with it.

Full article @

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