EcomDev PHPUnit Tip #13

For years, the test framework EcomDev_PHPUnit is quasi-standard for Magento unit tests. The current version is 0.3.7 and last state of official documentation is version 0.2.0 – since then, much has changed which you have to search yourself in code and GitHub issues. This series shall collect practical usage tips.

Tip #13: Speed up EAV fixtures

If you use the EAV fixtures to create products, categories and customers for tests, the fixture processor or EcomDev_PHPUnit makes a backup of the according tables before each test and restores it afterwards. Since the “magento_unit_tests” test database is copied from the current Magento database by default, this can result in much unnecessary overhead.

We can speed up tests that run several minutes many times over, by cleaning up the EAV tables in the test database. To do so, delete all rows in the entity main tables of the test DB, the associated attributes etc. are deleted automatically with triggers. With one exception: Do not delete the default root category:

delete from catalog_product_entity;
delete from catalog_category_entity where entity_id > 2;
delete from customer_entity;

Efficiently Increase/Decrease Magento Attributes

Magento.SE Screenshot

This question arose on Magento StackExchange:

I need to decrement a value with an atomic database operation, is it possible using Magento models?

It is in fact possible, with a lesser known technique using Zend_Db_Expr. I’ll share it here as well:

$object->setNumber(new Zend_Db_Expr('number-1'));

For reference:

The method Mage_Core_Model_Resource_Abstract::_prepareDataForSave() contains the following code:

if ($object->hasData($field)) {
    $fieldValue = $object->getData($field);
    if ($fieldValue instanceof Zend_Db_Expr) {
        $data[$field] = $fieldValue;
    } else {
        ... [normal value processing follows]

EAV Models:

Note that you only can reference the attribute by its name (“number” in the example) if it’s a real column of the main table, not an EAV attribute.

Although the abovementioned method is only used by models with flat tables, Zend_Db_Expr can be used for EAV attributes as well, the method that handles it is Varien_Db_Adapter_Pdo_Mysql::prepareColumnValue().

BUT you always have use the column name “value“:

$product->setNumber(new Zend_Db_Expr('value-1'));

You don’t need to specify a table alias because during save each attribute gets processed with its own query, so “value” is not ambiguous.

Magento: Make New Customer Attributes Visible in Backend Forms

If you add a new attribute to the customer entity in a a setup script, using addAttribute(), gets a surprise starting from Magento 1.5. The setup runs and database entries in customer_eav_attribute are created correctly but in the backend there is no new form element.

Which works well with other entities like categories and until Magento 1.4 also with customers, needs an additional setup step now, to add the attribute explicitly to the admin form (and/or other forms, like the registration form).

There is a new table for it, customer_form_attribute, which defines for each attribute, in which forms it can be used:

mysql> select * from customer_form_attribute;
| form_code                  | attribute_id |
| adminhtml_customer         |            1 |
| adminhtml_customer         |            3 |
| adminhtml_customer         |            4 |
| checkout_register          |            4 |
| customer_account_create    |            4 |
| customer_account_edit      |            4 |
| adminhtml_customer         |            5 |
| checkout_register          |            5 |
| customer_account_create    |            5 |
| customer_account_edit      |            5 |
| adminhtml_customer         |            6 |
| checkout_register          |            6 |
| customer_account_create    |            6 |
| customer_account_edit      |            6 |
| adminhtml_customer         |            7 |
| checkout_register          |            7 |
| customer_account_create    |            7 |
| customer_account_edit      |            7 |
88 rows in set (0.00 sec)

So much to for a better understanding, of course you don’t need to (and should not!) modify the database manually, it is sufficient to add the following lines after the addAttribute() call in your setup script:

        ->getAttribute('customer', $attributeCode)
        ->setData('used_in_forms', array('adminhtml_customer'))

with $attributeCode being the unique code of the new attribute and 'adminhtml_customer' the code for the customer management form in the backend. To keep setup scripts more clear if you add multiple attributes, it helps to extend the entity setup class, like this:

class MyNamespace_ExtendableCustomer_Model_Entity_Setup
    extends Mage_Customer_Model_Entity_Setup
    public function addAttributeToForm($attributeCode, $formCode)
            ->getAttribute('customer', $attributeCode)
            ->setData('used_in_forms', (array) $formCode)

Now when you use this class for your setup scripts that add customer attributes, it’s as simple as:

$this->addAttribute('customer', 'new_attribute', array( /* ... */);
$this->addAttributeToForm('new_attribute', 'adminhtml_customer');

Of course you can add the attribute to other forms in the same way, for the codes see the list above.

Thank you to the Magento forums for the crucial hint.


Pay attention, on save the field eav_entity_attribute.sort_order gets set, regardless being specified before!

See my comment on StackOverflow.

Furthermore sort_order only applies if user_defined => 0 was specified in the attribute setup because Magento sorts by user_defined first and then by sort_order.