Sharing Fixture Between Tests

There are few good reasons to share fixtures between tests, but in most cases the need to share a fixture between tests stems from an unresolved design problem.

A good example of a fixture that makes sense to share across several tests is a database connection: you log into the database once and reuse the database connection instead of creating a new connection for each test. This makes your tests run faster.

PHPUnit 3.5 removes the fixture sharing feature of the TestSuite class. It was tedious to use this feature as it required the usage of a custom TestSuite class in addition to the test case class. Furthermore, its implementation was a "hack".

PHPUnit 3.4 introduced the setUpBeforeClass() and tearDownAfterClass() template methods that can be used in a test case class. These methods allow a much cleaner and simpler implementation of fixture sharing between tests of the same test case class:

class DatabaseTest extends PHPUnit_Framework_TestCase
    protected static $dbh;
    public static function setUpBeforeClass()
        self::$dbh = new PDO('sqlite::memory:');
    public static function tearDownAfterClass()
        self::$dbh = NULL;

The example above uses the setUpBeforeClass() and tearDownAfterClass() template methods to connect to the database before the test case class' first test and to disconnect from the database after the last test of the test case, respectively.

It cannot be emphasized enough that sharing fixtures between tests reduces the value of the tests. The underlying design problem is that objects are not loosely coupled. You will achieve better results solving the underlying design problem and then writing tests using test doubles, than by creating dependencies between tests at runtime and ignoring the opportunity to improve your design.