How to use Rake in build pipeline automation (part II)


How to use Rake in build pipeline automation.

In the first post I explained how to use Rake to automate PHP composer dependency management. And avoid running composer tasks multiple times if it’s already done and there are no changes in composer.json and eventually composer.lock files.

Now let’s take one step further. Normally in pipelines in commit stage (or sometimes next stage) there is unit test job. Let’s see how we can extend our Rakefile to handle this job too.

Dependency matters

The important point with implementing unit test task is, it’s actually depends on on build task. That’s what task management tools suppose to help us with. So in other to do that with Rake, we just create a new task named test and then make it dependent to `build task.

Let’s see how it looks like:


task :test => [:build] do
  puts "Running unit tests ..."
  sh './vendor/bin/phpunit tests/'

Simple and easy, we just created a new task :test and made it dependent to :build task. From now on, if you run rake test without calling build first, it’ll be done automatically. And any consequent run of test will not execute build, but the tests only.

Arguments to survive

But what if in development stage we’d like to execute only a subset of tests? Let’s say based on test groups? The solution is task arguments. Rake provides an easy way to send some extra arguments into task when we’re calling them.

For this example I assume that we want to send a particular group name to test task. And then we pass that group into phpunit command line.

This is the code:

task :test, [:group] => [:build] do |t, args|
  puts "Running unit tests ..."

  extra_args = "--group #{}" if
  sh "./vendor/bin/phpunit #{extra_args} tests/"

The second parameter to task (ie. [:group]) is a list of arguments. Then in block you need to define two parameters, first one (ie t) is always a reference to task itself and second one is arguments.

The rest is very straight forward, we add --group argument to a string named extra_args if argument is not nil. Meaning that there is a group name provided by user. And then we pass that parameter to phpunit commnad.

In order to execute the above task with a specific group name, issue the following command:

rake test[item001]

Of course you can use other methods to execute only a subset of tests like --filter. It’s up to you. But the whole thing is pretty much like what I explained you just need to tailor it to your needs.

Defaults are good!

If you think running tests with rake test is too much to do, because you run the frequently then you can define a default task for you Rake. And make it so it runs tests by default. The what you need to do to execute test is just rake!

Here is how to do that:


task :default => [:test]

Extend it

You can all other related tasks like Test coverage too. It up to you to extend your rakefile and task as according to your need but make sure that you don’t break any dependency.

Show time

Again here is a video shows how those changes work in action:

As usual please leave your comments and suggestion below, and thanks for reading :)