Behat testing with docker

The idea is to use Moodle Behat integration to test moosh functionality. To run Behat tests, Moodle plugin is needed so a local plugin mooshtest was created.

It runs external moosh command with

And I run moosh...

And can check the output of the moosh command with

Then moosh command "..." contains "..."

See existing feature files for examples.

Few hacks are needed in order to run the testing like that. Normally when Moodle runs behat tests, it is in "behat mode". It uses a copy of DB and data (by default with a b_ prefix). If we run external command (moosh), it bootstrap Moodle in "normal mode". Below are the instructions on how to set up mooshtest local plugin + vanilla Moodle 3.7 + moosh.

Do the following steps to install and run moosh tests:

Create new folder:

mkdir ~/moosh-testing 

Enter into the folder:

cd ~/moosh-testing

Clone Moodle HQ docker repository and Moodle code into ~/moosh-testing:

git clone  
git clone -b MOODLE_37_STABLE git://

Go into the moodle directory and download the moosh code:

cd ~/moosh-testing/moodle
git clone git://

Go into ~/moosh-testing/moodle/moosh and install moosh dependencies:

cd ~/moosh-testing/moodle/moosh
composer install

In the moodle directory, move tests from ~/moodle/moosh/tests/mooshtest into ~/moodle/local:

cd  ~/moosh-testing/moodle
mv moosh/tests/mooshtest local

Initialize environment for behat:

export MOODLE_DOCKER_WWWROOT=~/moosh-testing/moodle
export MOODLE_DOCKER_DB=mysql

copy template file as config to moodle:

cd ~/moosh-testing/moodle-docker
cp config.docker-template.php $MOODLE_DOCKER_WWWROOT/config.php

Run Docker container:

bin/moodle-docker-compose up -d

Disable Moodle check for the DB prefix. In ~/moosh-testing/moodle/lib/behat/lib.php, comment out those 2 lines:

//'$CFG->behat_prefix in config.php must be different from $CFG->prefix');

Edit ~/moosh-testing/moodle/config.php directory and change:

$CFG->prefix = 'm_';


$CFG->prefix = 'b_';

Get into the web container:

cd ~/moosh-testing/moodle-docker
bin/moodle-docker-compose exec webserver bash

In your console you should be logged in as root (you should see something like this root@b5ba7a659e83:/var/www/html#), run the following commands:

apt-get update
apt-get install sudo
chown -R www-data /var/www
sudo -u www-data -E -H bash

Then you should be logged in as www-data (and see something like this www-data@b5ba7a659e83:~/html$)

Run then:

cd /var/www/html
php admin/tool/behat/cli/init.php

At the end of the installation, it should show local_mooshtest being installed:


++ Success ++

When you get warning like this one:

PHP Warning: PHP Startup: Unable to load dynamic library '/usr/local/lib/php/extensions/no-debug-non-zts-20160303/' - cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory in Unknown on line 0

Run this command:

export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/local/instantclient_12_1/

Now you can run any moosh test with command:

php admin/tool/behat/cli/run.php --format pretty --tags=@moosh

Or test any command:

moosh/moosh.php moosh-command


moosh/moosh.php course-list

Exit, stop and remove container:

To exit from the interactive container, type:


To stop the container:

bin/moodle-docker-compose stop

To stop and remove te container:

bin/moodle-docker-compose down

Quick steps to rerun the tests:

export MOODLE_DOCKER_WWWROOT=~/moosh-testing/moodle
export MOODLE_DOCKER_DB=mysql

bin/moodle-docker-compose up -d
bin/moodle-docker-compose exec webserver bash

apt-get update
apt-get install sudo

chown -R www-data /var/www
sudo -u www-data -E -H bash

php admin/tool/behat/cli/init.php
php admin/tool/behat/cli/run.php --format pretty --tags=@moosh


moosh comes with vagrant setup, which will give you the following moosh development environment:

  • Ubuntu 16.04 with PHP 7
  • Apache configured to run as user vagrant (so no problems with the file permissions)
  • MySQL
  • Latest Moodle 3.1 installed
  • composer and moosh installed from source


% git clone
% vagrant up

Your Moodle 3.1 is now available at (login "admin", password "a"). PhpMyAdmin URL is (MySQL login "root" and "mypassword).

Once you SSH into your box with:

 % vagrant ssh

You can run moosh inside the Moodle 3.1 installation:

 % cd /var/www/html/moodle
 % moosh user-list

The source code of moosh is under vagrant's home in /home/vagrant/moosh-src and calling "moosh" command will actually call /home/vagrant/moosh-src/moosh.php.

The directory /home/vagrant/moosh-src is shared with your host machine as "moosh-src", in directory where you have cloned the git repository. This is so you can use your favourite IDE on your host PC.

So - no excuses now - use pre-configured environment, develop some awesome moosh commands and send them to me!

Performance information

You can use global option -t (or long version --performance) to show extra performance information collected while the command runs:

% mooshdev -t course-backup 2
... <output cut> ...
Run from 2014-11-26T11:21:15+01:00 to 2014-11-26T11:21:16+01:00
Real time run 0.667 seconds
Server load before running the command: 0.14 0.16 0.16 1/584 6180
Server load after: 0.14 0.16 0.16 1/584 6180
Ticks: 67 user: 36 sys: 3 cuser: 0 csys: 0
Memory use before command run (internal/real): 19058864/19136512 (18.18 MB/18.25 MB)
Memory use after:  42252496/44040192 (40.30 MB/42.00 MB)
Memory peak: 43679224/45088768  (41.66 MB/43.00 MB)

Functional tests

There are no unit tests implemented for testing moosh at the moment. Instead, a set of functional tests have been developed. They are basically very simple bash scripts located in tests directory and named after command they test, e.g.:


is used to test moosh file-list command.

All tests start with some common boilerplate:



and then the test of the commmand is performed. Script should return (exit) with 0 if test is a success, with 1 otherwise. Here is test from

if moosh file-list id=6 | grep -w "grumpycat"; then
  exit 0
  exit 1

All tests are then run with run-tests.php script, which in turn will generate status on the continues integration page.


Notice in the test above that test suite assumes there is Moodle instance already setup and it contains a file called "grumpycat". All commands will be run in a known, prepared environment with users, courses pre-created. “install moodle” means restoring Moodle DB and data from prepared snapshot.

Set up & run functional tests

Some scripts use sudo chown command to operate on Moodle data, so to let them run without prompting for password add something like this to /etc/sudoers (use visudo to edit):

%adm    ALL = NOPASSWD: /bin/chown, /bin/chmod

Then make sure your shell user is in group adm.

Create 2 directories for Moodle data, eg: ~/data/moosh-test/moodledata25 and ~/data/moosh-test/moodledata26. Give apache user write access to Moodle data dirs.

Create 2 empty databases: mooshtest_25 and mooshtest_26.

#Get Moodle source code for 2.6 and 2.7
cd ~/www/html/moosh/
git clone moodle25
cd moodle25
git checkout 3d176316cc1791e258a7c1b2118fd35976c9bcae
cp config-dist.php config.php
#configure settings in config.php down to & including $CFG->dataroot

cd ~/www/html/moosh/
cp -r moodle25 moodle26
cd moodle26
git checkout ba05f57
cp config-dist.php config.php
#configure settings in config.php down to & including $CFG->dataroot

git clone
cd moosh/tests
#Configure DATA,DB,DBUSER and DBPASSWORD in and run it

Login to Moodle instances (e.g. http://localhost/moosh/moodle26/) as 'admin' using password 'a' and check if it works OK after restore.

#configure variables in and

#run tests, several should pass but some eventually fail:
php run-tests.php

Contributing to moosh

  1. Fork the project on github.
  2. Follow "installation from Moodle git" section.
  3. Look at existing plugins to see how they are done.
  4. Create new plugin/update existing one. You can use moosh itself to generate a new command from a template for you:

    moosh generate-moosh category-command

  5. Update this file with the example on how to use your plugin.

  6. For the extra bonus create a functional test to cover your command.
  7. Send me pull request.

Local commands

You can add your own, local commands to moosh by storing them in the same structure as moosh does but under ~/.moosh. For example, to create your custom command dev-mytest that works with any Moodle version, you would put it under:


Moodle development book: