Fixture Upgrade

As of 4.3.0 fixture schema and data management responsibilities were split. Maintaining schema in fixture classes and migrations added complexity and maintenance cost to applications. In 4.3.0 new APIs were added to enable you to more easily re-use your existing migrations or schema management tools with tests.

To upgrade to the new fixture system, you need to make a few updates:

  1. First, remove the <listeners> block from your phpunit.xml.

  2. Add the following to your phpunit.xml:

        <extension class="\Cake\TestSuite\Fixture\PHPUnitExtension" />

    This removes schema management from the test fixture manager. Instead your application needs to create/update schema at the beginning of each test run.

  3. Next, update tests/bootstrap.php to create schema. There are a few different ways to create schema. Refer to Creating Schema in Tests for the methods provided by CakePHP.

  4. Then, remove all the $fields and $import properties from your fixtures. These properties are unused in the new fixture system.

Your tests should continue to pass, and you can experiment with Fixture State Managers. TransactionStrategy which yield significant performance improvements. The trade-off with TransactionStrategy is that your auto-increment values will no longer start at 1 with each test.

Legacy Fixture Documentation

The following documentation applies only to the listener-based fixtures that are the default prior to 4.3.0.

Fixture Schema

We use $fields to specify which fields will be part of this table, and how they are defined. The format used to define these fields is the same used with Cake\Database\Schema\Table. The keys available for table definition are:


CakePHP internal data type. Currently supported:

  • string: maps to VARCHAR

  • char: maps to CHAR

  • uuid: maps to UUID

  • text: maps to TEXT

  • integer: maps to INT

  • biginteger: maps to BIGINTEGER

  • decimal: maps to DECIMAL

  • float: maps to FLOAT

  • datetime: maps to DATETIME

  • datetimefractional: maps to DATETIME(6) or TIMESTAMP

  • timestamp: maps to TIMESTAMP

  • timestampfractional: maps to TIMESTAMP(6) or TIMESTAMP

  • time: maps to TIME

  • date: maps to DATE

  • binary: maps to BLOB


Set to the specific length the field should take.


Set the number of decimal places used on float & decimal fields.


Set to either true (to allow NULLs) or false (to disallow NULLs).


Default value the field takes.

Importing Table Information

Defining the schema in fixture files can be really handy when creating plugins or libraries or if you are creating an application that needs to be portable between database vendors. Redefining the schema in fixtures can become difficult to maintain in larger applications. Because of this CakePHP provides the ability to import the schema from an existing connection and use the reflected table definition to create the table definition used in the test suite.

Let’s start with an example. Assuming you have a table named articles, change the example fixture given in the previous section (tests/Fixture/ArticlesFixture.php) to:

class ArticlesFixture extends TestFixture
    public $import = ['table' => 'articles'];

If you want to use a different connection, use:

class ArticlesFixture extends TestFixture
    public $import = ['table' => 'articles', 'connection' => 'other'];

Usually, you have a Table class along with your fixture. You can also use that to retrieve the table name:

class ArticlesFixture extends TestFixture
    public $import = ['model' => 'Articles'];

It also supports plugin syntax.

You can naturally import your table definition from an existing model/table, but have your records defined directly on the fixture as it was shown on previous section. For example:

class ArticlesFixture extends TestFixture
    public $import = ['table' => 'articles'];
    public $records = [
          'title' => 'First Article',
          'body' => 'First Article Body',
          'published' => '1',
          'created' => '2007-03-18 10:39:23',
          'modified' => '2007-03-18 10:41:31'
          'title' => 'Second Article',
          'body' => 'Second Article Body',
          'published' => '1',
          'created' => '2007-03-18 10:41:23',
          'modified' => '2007-03-18 10:43:31'
          'title' => 'Third Article',
          'body' => 'Third Article Body',
          'published' => '1',
          'created' => '2007-03-18 10:43:23',
          'modified' => '2007-03-18 10:45:31'

Finally, it’s possible to not load/create any schema in a fixture. This is useful if you already have a test database setup with all the empty tables created. By defining neither $fields nor $import, a fixture will only insert its records and truncate the records on each test method.