Automatically retry "Then" steps in Behat

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v1.1.1 2019-03-01 13:05 UTC


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Behat Retry Extension

Automatically spin (retry) "Then" steps in Behat


  1. Add it to your requirements (typically dev only)
composer require --dev chekote/behat-retry-extension
  1. Enable the extension:
# behat.yml
    # ...
        Chekote\BehatRetryExtension: ~
  1. Optionally configure the extension
# behat.yml
    # ...
          timeout: 10
          interval: 1000000000
          strictKeywords: true

Configuration Options


Type: Float

Default: 5

The timeout setting is the number of seconds that the extension should retry "Then" steps until they are considered a failure.


Type: Integer

Default: 100000000 (0.1 seconds)

The interval is how many nanoseconds the extension will wait between attempts. The default is to attempt 10 times a second. Attempting the retry more frequently will potentially allow your tests to pass quicker, but this depends on your environment.

It is possible that attempting the assertion too frequently will put a load on your application in such a way that the tests actually take longer to run. You will need to experiment with your particular application to determine what setting is best for you.

Strict Keywords

Type: Boolean

Default: true

When enabled, the Strict Keywords setting will only allow a step definition to be invoked if the correct keyword is used. For example, you cannot invoke a step definition of "Then I should see..." by using "Given I should see..." or "When I should see...". Note that when using "And" or "But", the extension will understand the context and consider these to be the same as the previous keyword. For example, the following "But" would be considered a "Then" as far as this extension is concerned:

Given I visit "/home"
Then I should see "Welcome"
But I should not see "Logout"

This setting defaults to true and it is highly recommended that you do not disable it. If this feature is disabled, it will allow a developer to use "Then" to invoke a non-Then step, causing the extension to spin a "Given" or a "When". Equally problematic, disabling this feature will allow a developer to use a "Given" or "When" to invoke a "Then", preventing the extension from spinning the "Then" step.



Install Docker.

You will also want to ensure that ./bin is in your $PATH and is the highest priority. You can do so by adding the following to your shell profile:

export PATH=./bin:$PATH

Setting up the project for development

Clone the repository:

git clone
cd BehatRetryExtension

Initialize the project:



The project includes a set of command line tools (such as php, etc) located in the bin folder. These can be run from anywhere on your machine and will execute as if they were the tools installed natively on your machine.

These commands will spin up temporary Docker containers to run your commands.

These command line tools have no requirements other than having Docker toolbox installed.

Note: If you are using the zsh terminal, you will need to unset the cdablevars option, otherwise you will be unable to execute any of the binaries that match usernames on your system, such as mysql:


# Options
unsetopt cdablevars