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In this chapter we will explain how you can extend and customize the file structure and test execution routines.


To avoid naming conflicts between Actor classes and Helper classes, they should be separated into namespaces. To create test suites with namespaces you can add --namespace option to the bootstrap command:

php vendor/bin/codecept bootstrap --namespace frontend

This will bootstrap a new project with the namespace: frontend parameter in the codeception.yml file. Helpers will be in the frontend\Codeception\Module namespace and Actor classes will be in the frontend namespace.

Once each of your applications (bundles) has its own namespace and different Helper or Actor classes, you can execute all the tests in a single runner. Run the Codeception tests as usual, using the meta-config we created earlier:

php vendor/bin/codecept run

This will launch the test suites for all three applications and merge the reports from all of them. This is very useful when you run your tests on a Continuous Integration server and you want to get a single report in JUnit and HTML format. The code coverage report will be merged too.

If you want to run a specific suite from the application you can execute:

php vendor/bin/codecept run unit -c frontend

Where unit is the name of suite and the -c option specifies the path to the codeception.yml configuration file to use. In this example we will assume that there is frontend/codeception.yml configuration file and that we will execute the unit tests for only that app.


To prepare environment for testing you can execute custom PHP script before all tests or just before a specific suite. This way you can initialize autoloader, check availability of a website, etc.

Global Bootstrap

To run bootstrap script before all suites place it in tests directory (absolute paths supported as well). Then set a bootstrap config key in codeception.yml:

# file will be loaded from tests/bootstrap.php
bootstrap: bootstrap.php

Suite Bootstrap

To run a script for a specific suite, place it into the suite directory and add to suite config:

# inside <suitename>.suite.yml
# file will be loaded from tests/<suitename>/bootstrap.php
bootstrap: bootstrap.php

On Fly Bootstrap

Bootstrap script can be executed with --bootstrap option for codecept run command:

php vendor/bin/codecept run --bootstrap bootstrap.php

In this case, bootstrap script will be executed before the Codeception is initialized. Bootstrap script should be located in current working directory or by an absolute path.

Bootstrap is a classical way to run custom PHP code before your tests. However, we recommend you to use Extensions instead of bootstrap scripts for better flexibility. If you need configuration, conditional enabling or disabling bootstrap script, extensions should work for you better.


Codeception has limited capabilities to extend its core features. Extensions are not supposed to override current functionality, but can be useful if you are an experienced developer and you want to hook into the testing flow.

By default, one RunFailed Extension is already enabled in your global codeception.yml. It allows you to rerun failed tests by using the -g failed option:

php vendor/bin/codecept run -g failed

Codeception comes with bundled extensions located in ext directory. For instance, you can enable the Logger extension to log the test execution with Monolog:

        - Codeception\Extension\RunFailed # default extension
        - Codeception\Extension\Logger: # enabled extension
            max_files: 5 # logger configuration

But what are extensions, anyway? Basically speaking, extensions are nothing more than event listeners based on the Symfony Event Dispatcher component.


Here are the events and event classes. The events are listed in the order in which they happen during execution. All listed events are available as constants in Codeception\Events class.

Event When? Triggered by
suite.before Before suite is executed Suite, Settings
test.start Before test is executed Test
test.before At the very beginning of test execution Codeception Test
step.before Before step Step
step.after After step Step After failed step Step After failed test Test, Fail
test.error After test ended with error Test, Fail
test.incomplete After executing incomplete test Test, Fail
test.skipped After executing skipped test Test, Fail
test.success After executing successful test Test
test.after At the end of test execution Codeception Test
test.end After test execution Test
suite.after After suite was executed Suite, Result, Settings When test fails are printed Test, Fail
result.print.after After result was printed Result, Printer

There may be some confusion between test.start/test.before and test.after/test.end. The start and end events are triggered by PHPUnit, but the before and after events are triggered by Codeception. Thus, when you are using classical PHPUnit tests (extended from PHPUnit\Framework\TestCase), the before/after events won’t be triggered for them. During the test.before event you can mark a test as skipped or incomplete, which is not possible in test.start. You can learn more from Codeception internal event listeners.

The extension class itself is inherited from Codeception\Extension:

use \Codeception\Events;

class MyCustomExtension extends \Codeception\Extension
    // list events to listen to
    // Codeception\Events constants used to set the event

    public static $events = array(
        Events::SUITE_AFTER  => 'afterSuite',
        Events::TEST_BEFORE => 'beforeTest',
        Events::STEP_BEFORE => 'beforeStep',
        Events::TEST_FAIL => 'testFailed',
        Events::RESULT_PRINT_AFTER => 'print',

    // methods that handle events

    public function afterSuite(\Codeception\Event\SuiteEvent $e) {}

    public function beforeTest(\Codeception\Event\TestEvent $e) {}

    public function beforeStep(\Codeception\Event\StepEvent $e) {}

    public function testFailed(\Codeception\Event\FailEvent $e) {}

    public function print(\Codeception\Event\PrintResultEvent $e) {}

By implementing event handling methods you can listen for events and even update passed objects. Extensions have some basic methods you can use:

  • write - prints to the screen
  • writeln - prints to the screen with a new-line character at the end
  • getModule - allows you to access a module
  • hasModule - checks if a module is enabled
  • getModuleNames - list all enabled modules
  • _reconfigure - can be implemented instead of overriding the constructor

Enabling Extension

Once you’ve implemented a simple extension class, you can require it in tests/_bootstrap.php, load it with Composer’s autoloader defined in composer.json, or store the class inside tests/Supportdir.

You can then enable it in codeception.yml

    enabled: [MyCustomExtension]

Extensions can also be enabled per suite inside suite configs (like acceptance.suite.yml) and for a specific environment.

To enable extension dynamically, execute the run command with --ext option. Provide a class name as a parameter:

php vendor/bin/codecept run --ext MyCustomExtension
php vendor/bin/codecept run --ext "\My\Extension"

If a class is in a Codeception\Extension namespace you can skip it and provide only a shortname. So Recorder extension can be started like this:

php vendor/bin/codecept run --ext Recorder

Configuring Extension

In the extension, you can access the currently passed options via the options property. You also can access the global configuration via the \Codeception\Configuration::config() method. If you want to have custom options for your extension, you can pass them in the codeception.yml file:

    enabled: [MyCustomExtension]
            param: value

The passed in configuration is accessible via the config property: $this->config['param'].

Check out a very basic extension Notifier.

Custom Commands

You can add your own commands to Codeception.

Your custom commands have to implement the interface Codeception\CustomCommandInterface, because there has to be a function to get the name of the command.

You have to register your command in the file codeception.yml:

    commands: [Project\Command\MyCustomCommand]

If you want to activate the Command globally, because you are using more then one codeception.yml file, you have to register your command in the codeception.dist.yml in the root folder of your project.

Please see the complete example

Group Objects

Group Objects are extensions listening for the events of tests belonging to a specific group. When a test is added to a group:

public function testAdminCreatingNewBlogPost(AcceptanceTester $I)

This test will trigger the following events:

  • test.before.admin
  • step.before.admin
  • step.after.admin
  • test.success.admin
  • test.after.admin

A group object is built to listen for these events. It is useful when an additional setup is required for some of your tests. Let’s say you want to load fixtures for tests that belong to the admin group:

namespace Group;

class Admin extends \Codeception\GroupObject
    public static $group = 'admin';

    public function _before(\Codeception\Event\TestEvent $e)
        $this->writeln('inserting additional admin users...');

        $db = $this->getModule('Db');
        $db->haveInDatabase('users', ['name' => 'bill', 'role' => 'admin']);
        $db->haveInDatabase('users', ['name' => 'john', 'role' => 'admin']);
        $db->haveInDatabase('users', ['name' => 'mark', 'role' => 'banned']);

    public function _after(\Codeception\Event\TestEvent $e)
        $this->writeln('cleaning up admin users...');
        // ...

GroupObjects can also be used to update the module configuration before running a test. For instance, for nocleanup group we prevent Doctrine module from wrapping test into transaction:

    public static $group = 'nocleanup';

    public function _before(\Codeception\Event\TestEvent $e)
        $this->getModule('Doctrine')->_reconfigure(['cleanup' => false]);

A group class can be created with php vendor/bin/codecept generate:group groupname command. Group classes will be stored in the tests/Support/Group directory.

A group class can be enabled just like you enable an extension class. In the file codeception.yml:

    enabled: [Group\Admin]

Now the Admin group class will listen for all events of tests that belong to the admin group.

Step Decorators

Actor classes include generated steps taken from corresponding modules and helpers. You can introduce wrappers for those steps by using step decorators.

Step decorators are used to implement conditional assertions. When enabled, conditional assertions take all method prefixed by see or dontSee and introduce new steps prefixed with canSee and cantSee. Contrary to standard assertions those assertions won’t stop test on failure. This is done by wrapping action into try/catch blocks.

List of available step decorators:

  • ConditionalAssertion - failed assertion will be logged, but test will continue.
  • TryTo - failed action will be ignored.
  • Retry - failed action will be retried automatically.

Step decorators can be added to suite config inside steps block:

    - Codeception/Step/TryTo
    - Codeception/Step/Retry
    - Codeception/Step/ConditionalAssertion

You can introduce your own step decorators. Take a look into sample decorator classes and create your own class which implements Codeception\Step\GeneratedStep interface. A class should provide getTemplate method which returns a code block and variables passed into a template. Make your class accessible by autoloader and you can have your own step decorators working.

Running from different folders

If you have several projects with Codeception tests, you can use a single codecept file to run all of your tests. You can pass the -c option to any Codeception command (except bootstrap), to execute Codeception in another directory:

php vendor/bin/codecept run -c ~/projects/ecommerce/
php vendor/bin/codecept run -c ~/projects/drupal
php vendor/bin/codecept generate:cest acceptance CreateArticle -c ~/projects/drupal/

To create a project in directory different from the current one, just provide its path as a parameter:

php vendor/bin/codecept bootstrap ~/projects/drupal/

Also, the -c option allows you to specify another config file to be used. Thus, you can have several codeception.yml files for your test suite (e.g. to to specify different environments and settings). Just pass the .yml filename as the -c parameter to execute tests with specific config settings.

Group Files

Groups can be defined in global or suite configuration files. Tests for groups can be specified as an array of file names or directories containing them:

  # add 2 tests to db group
  db: [tests/unit/PersistTest.php, tests/unit/DataTest.php]

  # add all tests from a directory to api group
  api: [tests/functional/api]

A list of tests for the group can be passed from a Group file. It should be defined in plain text with test names on separate lines:


A group file can be included by its relative filename:

  # requiring a group file
  slow: tests/Support/Data/slow.txt

You can create group files manually or generate them from third party applications. For example, you can write a script that updates the slow group by taking the slowest tests from xml report.

You can even specify patterns for loading multiple group files with a single definition:

  p*: tests/Support/Data/p*

This will load all found p* files in tests/Support/Data as groups. Group names will be as follows p1,p2,…,pN.


In addition to the standard test formats (Cest, Unit, Gherkin) you can implement your own format classes to customise your test execution. Specify these in your suite configuration:

  - \My\Namespace\MyFormat

Then define a class which implements the LoaderInterface

namespace My\Namespace;

class MyFormat implements \Codeception\Test\Loader\LoaderInterface
    protected $tests;

    protected $settings;

    public function __construct($settings = [])
        //These are the suite settings
        $this->settings = $settings;

    public function loadTests($filename)
        //Load file and create tests

    public function getTests()
        return $this->tests;

    public function getPattern()
        return '~Myformat\.php$~';

Installation Templates

Codeception setup can be customized for the needs of your application. If you build a distributable application and you have a personalized configuration you can build an Installation template which will help your users to start testing on their projects.

Codeception has built-in installation templates for

They can be executed with init command:

php vendor/bin/codecept init Acceptance

To init tests in specific folder use --path option:

php vendor/bin/codecept init Acceptance --path acceptance_tests

You will be asked several questions and then config files will be generated and all necessary directories will be created. Learn from the examples above to build a custom Installation Template. Here are the basic rules you should follow:

  • Templates should be inherited from Codeception\InitTemplate class and implement setup method.
  • Template class should be placed in Codeception\Template namespace so Codeception could locate them by class name
  • Use methods like say, saySuccess, sayWarning, sayError, ask, to interact with a user.
  • Use createDirectoryFor, createEmptyDirectory methods to create directories
  • Use createHelper, createActor methods to create helpers and actors.
  • Use Codeception generators to create other support classes.

One Runner for Multiple Applications

If your project consists of several applications (frontend, admin, api) or you are using the Symfony framework with its bundles, you may be interested in having all tests for all applications (bundles) executed in one runner. In this case you will get one report that covers the whole project.

Place the codeception.yml file into the root folder of your project and specify the paths to the other codeception.yml configurations that you want to include:

  - frontend/src/*Bundle
  - admin
  - api/rest
  output: _output
  colors: false

You should also specify the path to the log directory, where the reports and logs will be saved.

Wildcards (*) can be used to specify multiple directories at once.

It is possible to run specific suites from included applications:

  • codecept run ⬅ Execute all tests from all apps and all suites
  • codecept run unit ⬅ Runs unit suite from the current app
  • codecept run admin::unit ⬅ Runs unit suite from admin app
  • codecept run *::unit ⬅ Runs unit suites from all included apps and NOT the root suite
  • codecept run unit,*::unit ⬅ Runs included unit suites AND root unit suite
  • codecept run functional,*::unit ⬅ Runs included unit suites and root functional suite
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