Modules and Helpers
Codeception uses modularity to create a comfortable testing environment for every test suite you write.
All actions and assertions that can be performed by the Tester object in a class are defined in modules.
You can extend the testing suite with your own actions and assertions by writing them into a custom module.
Let’s look at the following test:
It can operate with different entities: the web page can be loaded with the PhpBrowser module,
the database assertion uses the Db module, and file state can be checked with the Filesystem module.
Modules are attached to the Actor classes in the suite configuration.
For example, in
tests/functional.suite.yml we should see:
The FunctionalTester class has its methods defined in modules. Actually, it doesn’t contain any of them,
but rather acts as a proxy. It knows which module executes this action and passes parameters into it.
To make your IDE see all of the FunctionalTester methods, you should run use the
codecept build command.
It generates method signatures from enabled modules and saves them into a trait which is included in an actor.
In the current example, the
tests/support/_generated/FunctionalTesterActions.php file will be generated.
By default, Codeception automatically rebuilds the Actions trait on each change of the suite configuration.
Codeception has many bundled modules which will help you run tests for different purposes and different environments.
The idea of modules is to share common actions, so that developers and QA engineers can concentrate on testing
and not on reinventing the wheel. Each module provides methods for testing its own part and
by combining modules you can get a powerful setup to test an application at all levels.
There is the
WebDriver module for acceptance testing, modules for all popular PHP frameworks,
PHPBrowser to emulate browser execution,
REST for testing APIs, and more.
Modules are considered to be the most valuable part of Codeception.
They are constantly improving to provide the best testing experience, and be flexible to satisfy everyone’s needs.
Modules may conflict with one another. If a module implements
it might declare a conflict rule to be used with other modules. For instance, WebDriver conflicts
with all modules implementing the
This way if you try to use two modules sharing the same conflicted interface you will get an exception.
To avoid confusion, Framework modules, PhpBrowser, and WebDriver can’t be used together. For instance,
amOnPage method exists in all those modules, and you should not try to guess which module will actually execute it.
If you are doing acceptance testing, set up either WebDriver or PHPBrowser but do not set both up at the same time.
If you are doing functional testing, enable only one of the framework modules.
In case you need to use a module which depends on a conflicted one, specify it as a dependent module in the configuration.
You may want to use
WebDriver with the
REST module which interacts with a server through
In this case your config should look like this:
This configuration will allow you to send GET/POST requests to the server’s APIs while working with a site through a browser.
If you only need some parts of a conflicted module to be loaded, refer to the next section.
Modules with Parts section in their reference can be partially loaded. This way, the
$I object will have actions
belonging to only a specific part of that module. Partially loaded modules can be also used to avoid module conflicts.
For instance, the Laravel5 module has an ORM part which contains database actions. You can enable the PhpBrowser module
for testing and Laravel + ORM for connecting to the database and checking the data.
The modules won’t conflict as actions with the same names won’t be loaded.
The REST module has parts for
Json in the same way. If you are testing a REST service with only JSON responses,
you can enable just the JSON part of this module:
Codeception doesn’t restrict you to only the modules from the main repository.
Your project might need your own actions added to the test suite. By running the
Codeception generates three dummy modules for you, one for each of the newly created suites.
These custom modules are called ‘Helpers’, and they can be found in the
Actions are also quite simple. Every action you define is a public function. Write a public method,
then run the
build command, and you will see the new function added into the FunctionalTester class.
Public methods prefixed by `_` are treated as hidden and won't be added to your Actor class.
Assertions can be a bit tricky. First of all, it’s recommended to prefix all your assertion actions with
Name your assertions like this:
And then use them in your tests:
You can define assertions by using assertXXX methods in your modules.
In your helpers you can use these assertions:
Accessing Other Modules
It’s possible that you will need to access internal data or functions from other modules.
For example, for your module you might need to access the responses or internal actions of other modules.
Modules can interact with each other through the
Please note that this method will throw an exception if the required module was not loaded.
Let’s imagine that we are writing a module that reconnects to a database.
It’s supposed to use the dbh connection value from the Db module.
By using the
getModule function, you get access to all of the public methods and properties of the requested module.
dbh property was defined as public specifically to be available to other modules.
Modules may also contain methods that are exposed for use in helper classes. Those methods start with a
and are not available in Actor classes, so can be accessed only from modules and extensions.
You should use them to write your own actions using module internals.
In this example we use the API of the facebook/php-webdriver library,
a Selenium WebDriver client the module is build on.
You can also access the
webDriver property of a module to get access to the
for direct Selenium interaction.
Extending a Module
If accessing modules doesn’t provide enough flexibility, you can extend a module inside a Helper class:
In this helper you can replace the parent’s methods with your own implementation.
You can also replace the
_after hooks, which might be an option
when you need to customize starting and stopping of a testing session.
Each module can handle events from the running test. A module can be executed before the test starts,
or after the test is finished. This can be useful for bootstrap/cleanup actions.
You can also define special behavior for when the test fails. This may help you in debugging the issue.
For example, the PhpBrowser module saves the current webpage to the
tests/_output directory when a test fails.
All hooks are defined in Codeception\Module and are listed here. You are free to redefine them in your module.
Please note that methods with a
_ prefix are not added to the Actor class.
This allows them to be defined as public but used only for internal purposes.
As we mentioned, the
_failed hook can help in debugging a failed test.
You have the opportunity to save the current test’s state and show it to the user, but you are not limited to this.
Each module can output internal values that may be useful during debug.
For example, the PhpBrowser module prints the response code and current URL every time it moves to a new page.
Thus, modules are not black boxes. They are trying to show you what is happening during the test.
This makes debugging your tests less painful.
To display additional information, use the
debugSection methods of the module.
Here is an example of how it works for PhpBrowser:
This test, running with the PhpBrowser module in debug mode, will print something like this:
Modules and Helpers can be configured from the suite configuration file, or globally from
Mandatory parameters should be defined in the
$requiredFields property of the class.
Here is how it is done in the Db module:
The next time you start the suite without setting one of these values, an exception will be thrown.
For optional parameters, you should set default values. The
$config property is used to define optional parameters
as well as their values. In the WebDriver module we use the default Selenium Server address and port.
The host and port parameter can be redefined in the suite configuration.
Values are set in the
modules:config section of the configuration file.
Optional and mandatory parameters can be accessed through the
$this->config['parameter'] to get its value.
Dynamic Configuration With Parameters
Modules can be dynamically configured from environment variables.
Parameter storage should be specified in the global
codeception.yml configuration inside the
Parameters can be loaded from environment vars, from yaml (Symfony format), .env (Laravel format), ini, or php files.
params section of the global configuration file
codeception.yml to specify how to load them.
You can specify several sources for parameters to be loaded from.
Example: load parameters from the environment:
Example: load parameters from YAML file (Symfony):
Example: load parameters from php file (Yii)
Example: load parameters from .env files (Laravel):
Once loaded, parameter variables can be used as module configuration values.
Use a variable name wrapped with
% as a placeholder and it will be replaced by its value.
Let’s say we want to specify credentials for a cloud testing service. We have loaded
SAUCE_KEY variables from environment, and now we are passing their values into config of
Parameters are also useful to provide connection credentials for the
Db module (taken from Laravel’s .env files):
If you want to reconfigure a module at runtime, you can use the
_reconfigure method of the module.
You may call it from a helper class and pass in all the fields you want to change.
In this case configuration will be changed instantly. In next example we change root URL for PhpBrowser to point to the admin area,
amOnPage('/') will open
However, in WebDriver configuration changes can’t be applied that easily. For instance, if you change the browser you need to close the current browser session and start a new one.
For that WebDriver module provides
_restart method which takes an array with config and restarts the browser.
At the end of a test all configuration changes will be rolled back to the original configuration values.
Runtime Configuration of a Test
Sometimes it is needed to set custom configuration for a specific test only.
For Cest and Test\Unit
formats you can use
@prepare annotation which can execute the code before other hooks are executed. This allows
to change the module configuration in runtime.
@prepare uses dependency injection
to automatically inject required modules into a method.
To run a specific test only in Chrome browser, you can call
_reconfigure from WebDriver module for a test itself using
Prepare methods can invoke all methods of a module, as well as hidden API methods (starting with
_). Use them to customize the module setup for a specific test.
To change module configuration for a specific group of tests use GroupObjects.
Modules are the real power of Codeception. They are used to emulate multiple inheritances for Actor classes
(UnitTester, FunctionalTester, AcceptanceTester, etc). Codeception provides modules to emulate web requests,
access data, interact with popular PHP libraries, etc. If the bundled modules are not enough for you that’s OK,
you are free to write your own! Use Helpers (custom modules) for everything that Codeception can’t do out of the box.
Helpers also can be used to extend the functionality of the original modules.