SQL/PDO extension that facilitates fixture data creation on the fly for Behat

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8.3.0 2020-04-17 11:50 UTC

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Last update: 2020-05-15 12:13:46 UTC


Generic library: Provides easy data manipulation with any PDO enabled database for Behat. Core features:

  • Out of the box step definitions for simple db interactions.
  • Auto-fills required fields in a table, freeing you from the schackles of required data.
  • Maintain SQL history for all queries executed for clean up later on.
  • Provides an api to replace keywords in strings such as URLs, allowing easy navigation to dynamic URLs.
  • Provides easy access to the entire last record manipulated from the keystore.
  • An API for advanced integration.
  • Advanced query internal resolutions for quick setup.

You can find usage examples in the features/test.feature file.

New Features in version 8:

  • Custom exceptions.

New Feature in Minor:

  • 1: OBDC Support added.
  • 2: Count API call added.
  • 3: Read all columns of a table. Dev improvements.

Patch fix:



require with composer

composer require "genesis/behat-sql-extension"


Instantiating the sql extension in your FeatureContext class.

use Genesis\SQLExtension\Context;

$databaseParams = [
    'engine' => 'mssql', // The database engine to use, mysql, mssql, pgsql.
    'schema' => 'dbo', // The database schema. Optional.
    'dbname' => 'MyDB', // The database name.
    'prefix' => 'dev_', // You can provide a database prefix which could be different based on the environment.
    'host' => '', // The database host.
    'port' => '9876', // The database port.
    'username' => 'db_username', // The username for the database.
    'password' => 'db_password' // The password for the database.

$this->sqlContext = new Context\API(
    new Context\DBManager(
      new Context\DatabaseProviders\Factory(),
    new Context\SQLBuilder(),
    new Context\LocalKeyStore(),
    new Context\SQLHistory()

Please note that the Context\SQLHistory parameter is optional and you may leave it.


After composer has installed the extension you would need to setup the connection details. This can be done in 2 ways:

###1. Behat.yml

In addition to the usual mink-extension parameters, you can pass in a connection_details parameter as follows:

          # Database connection details
            engine: pgsql
            port: 3306
            schema: ...
            dbname: ...
            username: ...
            password: ...
            dbprefix: ...
          # Keywords to be used with the SQL extension steps
          # 1 for max debug, 2 dumps only SQL queries executed.
          debug: false

In the above example, the keywords section provides injection of keywords. For example you can have:

            qwerty: thisisthehashofthepassword

This will make the qwerty keyword usable as follows:

Given I have a "user" where ",password_hash:{qwerty}"

Note the use of {qwerty} keyword. {qwerty} will be replaced with thisisthehashofthepassword.

The 'notQuotableKeywords' provide a way to specify mysql functions you do not wish to put in quotes when the SQLContext generates the SQL query. These are expected to be regular expressions but without the delimiters. The defaults that are already set are:

$keywords = [

To add a non-quotable word through the use of the API only, use the line below:

$_SESSION['behat']['GenesisSqlExtension']['notQuotableKeywords'][] = 'YOUR-REGEX-GOES-HERE';

Note: The schema is a very important parameter for the SQLContext, if you are working with multiple databases don't set a fixed schema. To reference a table from another database simply prefix that databases' name as per the sql convention and it will be used as your schema on the fly for that table. If you are just using one database in your application set the schema the same as the database.

Enabling strict exceptions

To enable throwing exceptions for any issues that come up during the execution of queries, you can do so by setting it on via the dbConnection like so:


###2. Environment variable

An environment variable can be set for the database connection details in the following way:


Fields required are


The fields needs to be preset but may be left empty.

Calls provided by this extension

Inserting data in a table

This will run an insert query using the @where/@with data provided

# file: insert.feature

# replace @table with your table name, include schema if table is stored in a schema
# @with/@where are used synonymously in this call
Given I have a "@table" where "@where"

To insert more rows at once the above statement can be re-written as follows:

# file: insert.feature

Given I have "@table" where:
  | column1            | column2            |
  | row1-column1-value | row1-column2-value |
  | row2-column1-value | row2-column2-value |

The above will insert two rows.

Deleting data in a table

This will run a delete query against the database using the @where/@with criteria given

# file: delete.feature

# @with/@where are used synonymously in this call
Given I do not have a "@table" where "@where"

Updating data in a table

This call will run an update query on the database records matching the @where clause

# file: update.feature

# @table for this to make sense your table should represent an entity
# @update the field you would like to update e.g
# @where this functions exactly the same as the sql where clause
# Format for @update and @where is ",id:1,isActive:true"
Given I have an existing "@table" with "@update" where "@where"

Using the not operator.

You can use the not operator to say a column should not be equal to value as follows:

Then I should have a "user" with ", active: !null" in the database

This will generate active is not null. For a value other than null it would generatecolumn != value.

The same can be written as:

Then I should have a "user" with:
    | column | value                      |
    | email  | |
    | active | !null                      |

Note the top row is just explanatory, it will not be used as part of the query.

Performing a LIKE search.

You can perform a LIKE clause with the following format:

Then I should have a "user" with "user_agent:%Firefox%" in the database

Greater than or less than comparison.

In order to apply greater than or less than comparisons:

Then I should have a "user" with "dob:>2001-01-01" in the database


Then I should have a "user" with "age:<18" in the database

Note: These operators are only applicable on numbers and date formats (yyyy-mm-dd).

Re-using values from another record

After creating or updating data you can assign the record's values to a keyword with the following clause

# file: reuse.feature

# Create a new user.
Given I have a "user" where ""

# The above command will create the record and also be aware of the data created. You can re-use this data in the following
# commands. To re-use, just use it like so "user.<column>". Remember any required fields that you may have not passed in data for
# explicitly will still be filled by the extension for you.
Given I have an "account" where "title:my account, user_id:{}"

The Given I have ... command will do two things for you:

  • Attempt to create a new record if it doesn't exist.
  • Save all columns of that new record for re-usability in its keywords store. These are accessible like so: {table.column} Example:
    • Consider a table user with the following columns:
      • id
      • name
      • email
      • role_id
    • This Given I have a "user" where "email:" will give you the following keywords:
      • {}
      • {}
      • {}
      • {user.role_id}

Referencing foreign table values

To substitute a value from another table use the following syntax:

Then I should have a "table" where "column1:value1, column2:[table1.columnToUse|whereColumn:Value]"

Putting the above into context.

column1: value1 # Usual sql syntax.
column2: [table1.columnToUse|whereColumn:Value] # External reference to the table `table1`

The above syntax i.e [...] will be resolved as follows:

SELECT `table1.columnToUse` FROM `table1` WHERE `whereColumn` = 'Value';

Verifying data in the database - Depreciated

Only verify the behaviour of your appication by testing your application and not the database with this extension. The following is not recommended except in extraordinary circumstances.

Verify the database records as follows:

Then I should have a "user" with ",status:1" in the database

Note: the 'in the database' part of the step definition is optional and is only for clarity of the step definition.

Debug mode

Debug mode can be used to print sql queries and results to the screen for quick debugging.

# file: behat.yml

# Enable debug mode to check for errors
    debug: true

The above "I have" command will output something like this to the screen:

Executing SQL: INSERT INTO user (email) VALUES ('')

Last ID fetched: 57

The SQLContext API

The extension provides an easy API for the same functionality as the DSL language. To give the code more context use the following:

    ->select(string $table, array $where) # select a record, essentially perform a iHaveAnExistingWhere.
    ->insert(string $table, array $where) # Insert a new record if it does not exist, same as iHaveAWith
    ->update(string $table, array $update, array $where) # Update an existing record, same as iHaveAnExistingWithWhere
    ->delete(string $table, array $where) # Delete a record, same as iDontHaveAWhere

Anything the DSL does will be done using the above methods (i.e setting keywords, outputting to debug log etc...)

Contributing to this extension

Found a bug? Excellent, I want to know all about it. Please log an issue here a link for the love of the project, or just open a PR I'd love to approve.