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Automated Drupal Testing | A Quick Guide

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In the digital age, where websites serve as the cornerstone of any online presence, the choice of a content management system (CMS) is crucial. Drupal, renowned for its robust and versatile nature, stands out as a preferred choice for many. This comprehensive guide delves into the world of Drupal, exploring its applications, significance, and the critical role of automated testing in maintaining Drupal’s efficiency and reliability. As we unfold the layers of Drupal and its testing processes, we aim to provide valuable insights for developers, testers, and digital strategists alike, emphasizing the need for thorough testing to harness Drupal’s full potential.

What is Drupal?

Drupal is a sophisticated open-source content management system known for its flexibility, security, and scalability. It’s a platform built on PHP, allowing developers and content managers to create and manage diverse digital content with ease. Unlike other CMS platforms, Drupal stands out for its modular design, enabling users to add or remove functionalities through various modules and extensions. This design approach not only offers customizable solutions but also makes Drupal an ideal choice for building complex, content-rich websites. 

At its core, Drupal facilitates the creation of user-friendly, accessible, and responsive websites, ranging from personal blogs to enterprise-level portals and e-commerce sites. The platform’s architecture supports a wide array of content types and is well-suited for handling large volumes of data, making it a robust solution for dynamic websites with varied content demands.

What is Drupal used for?

Drupal’s versatility allows it to cater to a wide range of web development needs. Key uses include:

  1. Corporate Websites and Portals: Many businesses choose Drupal for its ability to handle complex content structures and hierarchical user permissions, making it ideal for corporate websites.
  2. E-commerce Platforms: Drupal’s e-commerce solutions, such as Drupal Commerce, offer flexibility and scalability for online stores, supporting diverse product displays, shopping cart features, and secure payment systems.
  3. Educational Websites: Universities and educational institutions often utilize Drupal for its capability to manage large volumes of content and its user-friendly interface for students and staff.
  4. Government Websites: Drupal is favored by government entities for its high-security standards and ability to handle large, multifaceted sites that cater to public services.
  5. Media and Publishing: The platform is widely used in media and publishing for its efficient content management, ability to handle high traffic, and support for multimedia content.
  6. Community Platforms: Drupal excels in building online communities and forums, offering robust user management and interactive features.

Each of these applications benefits from Drupal’s core strengths: security, scalability, and content management capabilities, making it a versatile tool for various online platforms.

What is a Drupal Tool?

In the context of Drupal, the term “tool” refers to the diverse range of modules, themes, and distributions that enhance and extend Drupal’s core capabilities. These tools are at the heart of Drupal’s flexibility and power:

  1. Modules: Drupal modules are akin to plugins or add-ons. They provide additional features and functionalities to the core system. Ranging from SEO optimization, and security enhancements, to custom content types, modules allow users to tailor their Drupal site to specific needs.
  2. Themes: Themes in Drupal determine the look and feel of a website. They are essential for crafting a user-friendly and visually appealing interface. Drupal’s themes are highly customizable, allowing developers to create unique designs that resonate with their brand identity.
  3. Distributions: Drupal distributions are pre-packaged versions of Drupal that come with a set of modules, themes, and configurations for specific use cases. Distributions provide a quick-start kit for complex functionalities like e-commerce, social networking, or intranet.

These tools collectively empower developers to build sophisticated, highly customized websites with Drupal, catering to a wide range of functionalities and design preferences.

Drupal’s robustness and versatility are showcased in the variety of prominent websites it powers. Some notable examples include:

  1. Government Sites: Drupal is a preferred CMS for government websites worldwide, including the official site of the Australian Government and the City of London, due to its high security and scalability.
  2. Educational Institutions: Universities like Harvard University and the University of Oxford utilize Drupal to manage their extensive online presence, handling everything from academic information to student services.
  3. Media Outlets: Renowned media websites such as The Economist and Al Jazeera leverage Drupal’s capabilities to handle vast amounts of content and high web traffic.
  4. Non-Profits and NGOs: Organizations like Amnesty International and the Red Cross use Drupal for their websites, benefiting from its flexibility and content management features.
  5. Entertainment and Cultural Sites: The Grammy Awards and the Louvre Museum have Drupal at their digital core, using its features to create engaging user experiences.

These examples underline Drupal’s suitability for a wide range of sectors, emphasizing its ability to handle complex site architectures, large volumes of data, and varied user interactions.

Why Perform Drupal Testing?

Testing in Drupal is an essential practice to ensure the optimal performance, security, and user experience of Drupal sites. Given Drupal’s extensive functionality and customization options, testing becomes crucial for:

  1. Ensuring Quality: Regular testing helps maintain the high quality of the Drupal site, ensuring that all features and functionalities work as intended.
  2. Identifying and Fixing Bugs: Testing helps in the early detection of bugs and issues, which can be fixed before they impact the end-user experience.
  3. Verifying Security: With its popularity and extensive use, Drupal sites are often targets for security threats. Testing helps in identifying vulnerabilities and reinforcing security measures.
  4. Enhancing User Experience: Testing aids in fine-tuning the site’s user interface and user experience, ensuring the site is intuitive and accessible to its audience.
  5. Supporting Updates and Upgrades: Drupal’s frequent updates and module upgrades require continuous testing to ensure compatibility and performance consistency.

 Advantages of Using Drupal

Drupal offers several distinct advantages as a CMS platform:

  1. Flexibility and Customization: Drupal’s modular architecture allows for extensive customization to suit diverse web development needs.
  2. Robust Security: Known for its strong focus on security, Drupal is regularly updated to address vulnerabilities and protect against threats.
  3. Scalability: Drupal efficiently handles sites with high traffic and vast content, making it suitable for large-scale enterprises and high-traffic websites.
  4. Strong Community Support: Being open-source, Drupal has a large community of developers and users, providing a wealth of resources, modules, and support.
  5. Content Management Efficiency: Drupal’s content management system is powerful and user-friendly, supporting a variety of content types and user roles.

Ways to Perform Drupal Testing

Ensuring the robustness and reliability of Drupal websites involves comprehensive testing strategies. Drupal testing can be broadly categorized into manual and automated approaches, each serving unique purposes and offering different benefits.

Manual Drupal Testing

Manual testing in Drupal is a hands-on approach where testers interact directly with the application to validate its features and functionalities. This method is particularly effective in the following areas:

  1. User Experience Testing: Manual testing is crucial for assessing the user experience, ensuring the website is intuitive, user-friendly, and visually appealing.
  2. Functionality Testing: Testers check the functionality of various Drupal modules and features to ensure they operate as intended.
  3. Performance Evaluation: Manual testing helps in evaluating the website’s performance, including load times and responsiveness under different conditions.
  4. Content and Workflow Testing: Ensuring that content management workflows function correctly and that content displays as expected across different devices and browsers.
  5. Accessibility Testing: Manual testing is key to ensuring the website meets accessibility standards, providing an inclusive user experience.

Automated Drupal Testing

Automated testing in Drupal leverages various tools to conduct pre-scripted tests automatically. This approach is efficient for:

  1. Regression Testing: Automated tests can quickly verify that existing functionalities work correctly after code changes or updates.
  2. Continuous Integration (CI): Automated tests can be integrated into the CI pipeline, allowing for continuous testing and validation of changes in the development process.
  3. Scalability: Automated testing is ideal for large Drupal sites, as it can handle extensive test suites more efficiently than manual testing.
  4. Repeatability: Since automated tests can be run repeatedly without additional effort, they are perfect for ensuring long-term stability and performance of the Drupal site.
  5. Comprehensive Coverage: Automated tests can cover a wide range of scenarios, including edge cases that might be overlooked in manual testing.

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Features of Automated Testing in Drupal

Automated testing in Drupal comes with several features that enhance the testing process:

  • Custom Scripting: Automated tests in Drupal can be customized with scripts that mimic user interactions, providing accurate and relevant testing scenarios.
  • Integration with Drupal Modules: Automated tests can interact with Drupal’s core and contributed modules, ensuring comprehensive coverage of the site’s features.
  • Reporting and Analysis: Automated testing tools often come with reporting capabilities, providing insights into test results and areas that require attention.

Automated testing in Drupal requires a careful selection of tools and frameworks that align with the specific needs of the project. Popular tools for Drupal testing include PHPUnit for unit testing, Behat for behavior-driven development, and Selenium for browser automation.

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Types of Drupal Testing

In Drupal, testing encompasses various types that cater to different aspects of the website. Each type plays a crucial role in ensuring the overall quality and performance of the Drupal site.

Drupal Unit Testing

Unit testing in Drupal involves testing individual components or modules of the website in isolation. This type of testing is crucial for ensuring that each part of the website functions correctly on its own. Tools like PHPUnit are commonly used for unit testing in Drupal. For insights into the broader goals of software testing, including unit testing, Testsigma’s blog on Goals of Software Testing offers valuable information.

Drupal Kernel Testing

Kernel testing in Drupal is a step above unit testing. It tests the integration of multiple components within the system. Unlike unit testing, which tests components in isolation, kernel testing ensures that these components work together as expected. This type of testing is particularly important for complex Drupal sites with numerous interacting modules.

Drupal End-to-End Testing

End-to-end testing in Drupal evaluates the complete workflow of the website from start to finish, mimicking real-world user scenarios. This testing ensures that the entire process on the site, from user input to data processing and output, works seamlessly. Tools like Selenium are often used for end-to-end testing, providing an automated way to simulate user interactions with the website.

Drupal Browser Testing

Browser testing in Drupal checks the compatibility and performance of the website across different web browsers. It’s essential for ensuring a consistent user experience, regardless of the browser used. This type of testing is crucial in today’s multi-browser environment.

Drupal JavaScript Testing

With the increasing use of JavaScript in Drupal sites for dynamic content and interactive features, JavaScript testing has become essential. It ensures that all JavaScript functionalities work correctly across various devices and browsers.

Manual Drupal Testing

Manual testing remains an integral part of ensuring the quality of Drupal websites. It involves testers navigating through the website, checking its functionalities, user interface, and overall performance. Manual testing is particularly effective in assessing the user experience, as it allows testers to interact with the site as real users. Testsigma’s guide on Software Testing provides a comprehensive overview of various testing approaches, including manual testing.

Run Drupal Tests with the run-tests.sh Script

The run-tests.sh script runs Drupal tests through command line interface. It is especially useful for running tests in a consistent environment, such as a continuous integration (CI) pipeline. 

Let’s consider the below code:

use Drupal\Tests\BrowserTestBase;
/**
 * Tests user login functionality.
 *
 * @group user
 */
class UserLoginTest extends BrowserTestBase {
    /**
     * The modules to enable.
     *
     * @var array
     */
    protected static $modules = ['user'];

    /**
     * Tests user login.
     */
    public function testUserLogin() {
        // Create a user and log in.
        $user = $this->createUser();
        $this->drupalLogin($user);

        // Verify the response code and page text.
        $this->assertSession()->statusCodeEquals(200);
        $this->assertSession()->pageTextContains('Welcome');
    }
}

Run the above code in different ways using the command line:

  • Basic command to run all the tests: ./core/scripts/run-tests.sh –all
  • Run tests for a specific module: ./core/scripts/run-tests.sh –module your_module
  • Run a Specific Test Class: ./core/scripts/run-tests.sh –class \Drupal\Tests\your_module\Functional\UserLoginTest
  • Run Tests by Group: ./core/scripts/run-tests.sh –group user
  • After running the tests, you can see a summary of the passed and failed tests, along with detailed information about any errors or failures.

Run Drupal Tests with PHPUnit

Drupal tests, mainly unit tests, are run using PHPUnit. One of the most basic tests you can write for a Drupal website would be checking the authentication, i.e., login. 

The code for that in PHPUnit would look something like this:

use Drupal\Tests\BrowserTestBase;
/**
 * Tests user login functionality.
 *
 * @group user
 */
class UserLoginTest extends BrowserTestBase {
    /**
     * The modules to enable.
     *
     * @var array
     */
    protected static $modules = ['user'];

    /**
     * Tests user login.
     */
    public function testUserLogin() {
        // Create a user and log in.
        $user = $this->createUser();
        $this->drupalLogin($user);

        // Verify the response code and page text.
        $this->assertSession()->statusCodeEquals(200);
        $this->assertSession()->pageTextContains('Welcome');
    }
}

Breakdown of the above code:

  • Namespace and Class Declaration: The use statement imports the BrowserTestBase class from Drupal’s testing framework.
  • Modules to Enable: The $modules property specifies that the user module should be enabled for this test.
  • User Creation and Login: The testUserLogin method creates a new user and logs in with that user.
  • Assertions: The assertions check that the status code of the page is 200 (indicating success) and that the page contains the text ‘Welcome’.

Steps to Run the above Code:

  • Navigate to the root directory of your Drupal installation in the terminal and run the PHPUnit command to execute your test: vendor/bin/phpunit -c core/phpunit.xml.dist modules/custom/your_module/tests/src/Functional/UserLoginTest.php
  • PHPUnit will run the specified test and provide output with the pass/fail status. You will also see detailed information about any errors or failures that occurred.

Frameworks for Testing in Drupal

The most popular and widely used framework for Drupal automated testing is PHPUnit. This framework supports unit, integration, and system/functional testing. Although running automated tests using an external framework like Behat with scenarios in Gherkin syntax is possible, PHPUnit is the official framework used by many.

You can perform testing in various layers to confirm the quality and reaction of code on edge cases:

Unit tests

The function of unit testing is to verify the individual components, such as functions or classes, separate from the rest of the application.

In Drupal, PHPUnit writes quick and frequent unit tests to catch bugs for custom modules and core functionalities. For instance, if a module has a function to calculate discounts, a unit test would check if this function returns the correct output under various conditions. 

Integration tests

Next to unit tests are integration tests, which validate the flow of data/information between two components or modules to check if they work as intended. PHPUnit framework focuses on testing how custom modules integrate with Drupal core and other modules.

Kernel tests

Kernel tests are placed between functional and unit tests. While they do not guarantee a working Drupal UI, they do allow bootstrapping of selected portions of Drupal to run the tests. That’s why kernel tests are often best for testing your module’s programmatic APIs.

System tests

In the end, system testing or functional testing undertakes the validation of the overall system from the user’s perspective. 

Unlike unit and integration tests, functional tests often run in a browser or a simulated browser environment. This provides a more realistic test environment.

Functional tests assert the application’s state after certain actions are performed, such as checking whether a new node is created successfully or whether an error message is displayed when form validation fails.

Best Practices for Testing Drupal Websites

If you have worked hard to build your website, testing it is essential to ensure it works as needed. 

Drupal is quite fast and easy to use. Following a few best practices for testing Drupal websites can make all the difference.

  • Do not test the website in production. As Drupal is easy to install and has a faster execution speed, run the tests in staging before moving the changes to production.
  • You can keep your local as the test system.
  • Make sure that your backup works and that you know how to restore the website database and files if needed.
  • Stay updated with the upgrades that Drupal releases occasionally. 
  • Go to your site regularly and look for potential problems/fixes. Search for security fixes and possible Drupal upgrades that might affect your website.
  • Configuring server file systems with the minimal required file permissions is always preferred. See here.

How to Perform Automated Drupal Testing?

Automated testing in Drupal streamlines the testing process, especially for large and complex sites. Here’s how you can perform automated Drupal testing effectively:

  1. Choose the Right Tools: Select testing tools that are compatible with Drupal. Testsigma offers automated testing solutions that can be tailored for Drupal sites.

Drupal Testing

  1. Write Test Scripts: Develop test scripts based on your Drupal site’s functionality. Testsigma allows for easy script creation, even for those with limited coding experience.
    Once you are logged in to your Dashboard, navigate to the top right corner and click, “Create New”, and click on “Test Case”.
    Next, write your own test script with simple sentence structuring formats, to create your own case.
  2. Integrate with CI/CD Pipeline: Incorporate your automated tests into your continuous integration and continuous deployment pipeline. This ensures regular and efficient testing throughout the development process.
  3. Regularly Update Tests: Keep your automated tests up-to-date with the latest changes in your Drupal site to ensure continued accuracy and relevance.
  4. Analyze Test Results: Use the reporting features of your testing tools to analyze test results and make informed decisions on improvements. Testsigma provides detailed reports that help in identifying areas for enhancement.



How to Perform Drupal Automated Testing Using Testsigma?

  1. Write Test Scripts: Develop test scripts based on your Drupal site’s functionality. Testsigma allows for easy script creation, even for those with limited coding experience.
  2. Once you are logged in to your Dashboard, navigate to the top right corner and click, “Create New”, and click on “Test Case”.
Drupal Automated Testing 1
  1. Next, write your own test script with simple sentence structuring formats, to create your own case.
Drupal Automated Testing 2
  1. Integrate with CI/CD Pipeline: Incorporate your automated tests into your continuous integration and continuous deployment pipeline. This ensures regular and efficient testing throughout the development process. Click on Learn More under every option to know the steps to follow for the integration process.
Drupal Automated Testing 3
  1. Regularly Update Tests: Keep your automated tests up-to-date with the latest changes in your Drupal site to ensure continued accuracy and relevance.
  2. Analyze Test Results: Use the reporting features of your testing tools to analyze test results and make informed decisions on improvements. Testsigma provides detailed reports that help in identifying areas for enhancement.
4.Result

Conclusion

In summary, Drupal testing, whether manual or automated, is essential for maintaining the integrity, security, and performance of Drupal websites. With the various types of testing, from unit to JavaScript testing, Drupal site maintainers can ensure that their websites meet the highest standards of quality and functionality. Leveraging tools like Testsigma for automated testing can significantly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the testing process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Drupal use coding?

Yes, Drupal does involve coding, primarily for tasks such as custom module development, theme creation, and website customization. While Drupal’s core and many of its modules offer extensive functionality without the need for custom coding, understanding languages like PHP (on which Drupal is built), HTML, CSS, and JavaScript is beneficial for developers looking to customize and extend Drupal websites. However, for users with non-technical backgrounds, Drupal’s user-friendly interface and numerous modules allow them to manage and create content without deep coding knowledge.

What language is Drupal?

Drupal is primarily written in PHP, a popular server-side scripting language. PHP is used for Drupal core, modules, and themes, making it essential for Drupal development. Additionally, for front-end development or theming, knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript is also important. Drupal’s use of PHP allows for dynamic content generation and database interactions, key features for a robust content management system. Understanding PHP and related web technologies enables developers to fully harness the power and flexibility of Drupal.

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