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

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.


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:

 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.


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:

 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
step.fail After failed step Step
test.fail 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
test.fail.print 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::SUITE_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:

codecept run --ext MyCustomExtension
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:

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:

 * @group admin
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.fail.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', array('name' => 'bill', 'role' => 'admin'));
        $db->haveInDatabase('users', array('name' => 'john', 'role' => 'admin'));
        $db->haveInDatabase('users', array('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 Doctrine2 module from wrapping test into transaction:

    public static $group = 'nocleanup';

    public function _before(\Codeception\Event\TestEvent $e)
        $this->getModule('Doctrine2')->_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.

Custom Reporters

Alternative reporters can be implemented as extension. There are DotReporter and SimpleReporter extensions included. Use them to change output or use them as an example to build your own reporter. They can be easily enabled with --ext option

codecept run --ext DotReporter

If you want to use it as default reporter enable it in codeception.yml.

But what if you need to change the output format of the XML or JSON results triggered with the --xml or --json options? Codeception uses PHPUnit printers and overrides them. If you need to customize one of the standard reporters you can override them too. If you are thinking on implementing your own reporter you should add a reporters section to codeception.yml and override one of the standard printer classes with one of your own:

    xml: Codeception\PHPUnit\Log\JUnit
    html: Codeception\PHPUnit\ResultPrinter\HTML
    report: Codeception\PHPUnit\ResultPrinter\Report

All PHPUnit printers implement the PHPUnit_Framework_TestListener interface. It is recommended to read the code of the original reporter before overriding it.

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:

codecept init Acceptance

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

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.


Each feature mentioned above may help dramatically when using Codeception to automate the testing of large projects, although some features may require advanced knowledge of PHP. There is no “best practice” or “use cases” when we talk about groups, extensions, or other powerful features of Codeception. If you see you have a problem that can be solved using these extensions, then give them a try.

© 2011 Michael Bodnarchuk and contributors
Licensed under the MIT License.