The PHPUnit Bridge

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The PHPUnit Bridge

The PHPUnit Bridge provides utilities to report legacy tests and usage of deprecated code.

It comes with the following features:

  • Forces the tests to use a consistent locale (C);
  • Auto-register class_exists to load Doctrine annotations (when used);
  • It displays the whole list of deprecated features used in the application;
  • Displays the stack trace of a deprecation on-demand;


The PHPUnit Bridge was introduced in Symfony 2.7. It is however possible to install the bridge in any Symfony application (even 2.3).


$ composer require --dev "symfony/phpunit-bridge:*"

Alternatively, you can clone the repository.


If you install this component outside of a Symfony application, you must require the vendor/autoload.php file in your code to enable the class autoloading mechanism provided by Composer. Read this article for more details.


The PHPUnit bridge is designed to work with all maintained versions of Symfony components, even across different major versions of them. You should always use its very latest stable major version to get the most accurate deprecation report.


Once the component is installed, a simple-phpunit script is created in the vendor/ directory to run tests. This script wraps the original PHPUnit binary to provide more features:

$ cd my-project/
$ ./vendor/bin/simple-phpunit

After running your PHPUnit tests, you will get a report similar to this one:

The summary includes:

Reports deprecation notices that were triggered without the recommended @-silencing operator.
Deprecation notices denote tests that explicitly test some legacy features.
Deprecation notices are all other (non-legacy) notices, grouped by message, test class and method.


If you don't want to use the simple-phpunit script, register the following PHPUnit event listener in your PHPUnit configuration file to get the same report about deprecations (which is created by a PHP error handler called DeprecationErrorHandler):

<!-- phpunit.xml.dist -->
<!-- ... -->
    <listener class="Symfony\Bridge\PhpUnit\SymfonyTestsListener" />

Trigger Deprecation Notices

Deprecation notices can be triggered by using:

@trigger_error('Your deprecation message', E_USER_DEPRECATED);

Without the @-silencing operator, users would need to opt-out from deprecation notices. Silencing by default swaps this behavior and allows users to opt-in when they are ready to cope with them (by adding a custom error handler like the one provided by this bridge). When not silenced, deprecation notices will appear in the Unsilenced section of the deprecation report.

Mark Tests as Legacy

There are three ways to mark a test as legacy:

  • (Recommended) Add the @group legacy annotation to its class or method;
  • Make its class name start with the Legacy prefix;
  • Make its method name start with testLegacy*() instead of test*().


If your data provider calls code that would usually trigger a deprecation, you can prefix its name with provideLegacy or getLegacy to silent these deprecations. If your data provider does not execute deprecated code, it is not required to choose a special naming just because the test being fed by the data provider is marked as legacy.

Also be aware that choosing one of the two legacy prefixes will not mark tests as legacy that make use of this data provider. You still have to mark them as legacy tests explicitly.


In case you need to inspect the stack trace of a particular deprecation triggered by your unit tests, you can set the SYMFONY_DEPRECATIONS_HELPER environment variable to a regular expression that matches this deprecation's message, enclosed with /. For example, with:

<!-- -->
<phpunit xmlns:xsi=""

    <!-- ... -->

        <server name="KERNEL_DIR" value="app/" />
        <env name="SYMFONY_DEPRECATIONS_HELPER" value="/foobar/" />

PHPUnit will stop your test suite once a deprecation notice is triggered whose message contains the "foobar" string.

Making Tests Fail

By default, any non-legacy-tagged or any non-`@-silenced`_ deprecation notices will make tests fail. Alternatively, setting SYMFONY_DEPRECATIONS_HELPER to an arbitrary value (ex: 320) will make the tests fails only if a higher number of deprecation notices is reached (0 is the default value). You can also set the value "weak" which will make the bridge ignore any deprecation notices. This is useful to projects that must use deprecated interfaces for backward compatibility reasons.

This work, including the code samples, is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license.