I am developing an eCommerce web application using magento2. During the development I came to know magento2 useses mockbuilder or mock objects for testing it's modules functionality.

Which is fare in below cases:

  1. Actual method call will consume more memory then a stub(mock).
  2. Functionality which is not developed yet can be stub ( mock) and dependent functionality can be test by setting expected output in stub(mock).

  3. In CICD ( continues integration and continues testing )environment If we have all test written without mocking, It will a big overhead on server in terms of memory consumption.

So here is the actual question, Weather we should use mocking while writing PHPUnit test cases all the time or we should use mocking in some cases only?

Need an expert advice on this.


1 Answer 1


It looks to me that you're mixing up 2 types of testing here: unit testing and integration testing.

Unit Testing

With unit testing, you're testing a single unit. Now what the definition of a "Unit" is differs from which developer you ask it to. Some will say a unit is a single class, other will say it's a single method. I've even met developers who group an entire module as a single unit. In my opinion a unit is a single method of a class that you are testing.

The most important part of testing a single unit is that you want to simulate the environment surrounding it. That is: the dependencies of the class. This is called mocking. For example: if you're testing a single unit that needs to process some output of a database, you don't want to perform an actual query on a live database; you'd rather mock the database dependency to make sure that for your test it will always return a certain set of data.

Integration Testing

Integration testing is one step further and once again, it's definition depends on which developer you ask it. In my opinion: with an integration test you test the integration between multiple units. We've already tested our units as stand-alone entities, now it's time to see how well they work together.

An integration test is often heavier than a unit test, because it mostly requires an active installation (with testdata) and it does not allow much for mocking. With integration tests you make use of fixtures. A fixture is a pre-defined state / set of data that is present for the test to work on. For example: if you want to test a product filter that filters on a products' status, a logical fixture would be to have a set of 5 products with different statuses.

Integration tests often also do their own setup and teardown to populate and delete a test-database. The Magento 2 integration test framework is a good example of this.

In real-life

Needless to say, an integration tests uses far more processor power and memory consumption because it's often tested in a real installation. In a CI/CD street, it makes perfect sense to run unit tests on merge requests / commits, and to run integration tests on a deployment (or on set times / cooldown periods).

So to answer your question: use mocking for your unit tests, but not for your integration tests. Mocking should always be done when your class/method uses external dependencies.

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