Moodle unit testing through simple test

I’ve used the simpletest PHP unit test framework and as Moodle uses the simpletest, I thought that setting up unit tests and running them would be straightforward. As with a lot of things Moodle, there are various gotchas which are not documented and it was only by searching through the source code that I was able to get them running.

I set up a unit test class and ran it through Site Administration -> Development -> Unit Tests. The first thing that went wrong was it complained that unittestprefix had not been set. A search through the source revealed that this variable refers the prefix you need to use on the test tables in the Moodle database. In my config.php, the setting was

//Unit testing. 
//This refers to the prefix for the test tables in the database
$CFG->unittestprefix = 'testing_';

The next problem was that Moodle couldn’t find my unit tests. It took a bit of digging but I found that I had prefix the name the php file with the unit test with ‘test_’. After that, my tests worked OK.

if (!defined('MOODLE_INTERNAL')) {
   ///  It must be included from a Moodle page
    die('Direct access to this script is forbidden.');    
}

global $DB, $CFG;

class test_block_rollover_clone_test extends UnitTestCase
{
    public function testInitialTesting()
    {
        $this->assertFalse(true);
    }

}

This resulted in the following:

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