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Stubs & Monkey Patching DSL

A method stub or simply stub in software development is used to stand in for some other programming functionality. This section explains how to perform such replacement with Kahlan.

Note: stubs & monkey patching only works for classes loaded by Composer.

Method Stubbing

Use allow() to stub an existing method on any class like so:

it("stubs a method by setting a return value", function() {
    $instance = new MyClass();
    allow($instance)->toReceive('myMethod')->andReturn('Good Morning World!');

    expect($instance->myMethod())->toBe('Good Morning World!');
it("stubs a method by setting a return value only when some arguments matches", function() {
    $instance = new MyClass();
    allow($instance)->toReceive('myMethod')->with('Hello!')->andReturn('Good Morning World!');

    expect($instance->myMethod('Hello!'))->toBe('Good Morning World!');

You can specify multiple return values with:

it("stubs a method with multiple return values", function() {
    $instance = new MyClass();
    allow($instance)->toReceive('sequential')->andReturn(1, 3, 2);


You can also stub static methods using :::

it("stubs a static method", function() {
    $instance = new MyClass();
    allow($instance)->toReceive('::myMethod')->andReturn('Good Morning World!');

    expect($instance::myMethod())->toBe('Good Morning World!');

It's also possible to use a closure to replace the whole method logic:

it("stubs a method using a closure", function() {
    allow($foo)->toReceive('myMethod')->andRun(function($param) { return $param; });
    expect($instance->myMethod('Hello World!'))->toBe('Hello World!');

Moreover you can stub a chain of methods by using the following syntax.

it('should patch PDO', function() {
    allow('PDO')->toReceive('prepare', 'fetchAll')->andReturn([['name' => 'bob']]);

    $user = new User();
        ['name' => 'bob']

Where the User class is:

use PDO;

class User
    protected $_db = null;

    public function __construct()
        $this->_db = new PDO('mysql:dbname=testdb;host=localhost', 'root','');

    public function all()
        $stmt = $this->db->prepare('SELECT * FROM users');
        return $stmt->fetchAll();

In practice method chaining is considered as code smells because it tends to violate the Law of Demeter. So use it wisely.

Finally, where() can be used to specify some arguments requirement for a chain of methods:

it('returns the stubbed return value when arguments requirement match', function() {
    $query = new MyQuery();
      ->toReceive('find', 'where', 'order', 'limit')
        'find'  => ['widgets']],
        'where' => [['name' => 'Bottle Opener']],
        'order' => [['id' => 'desc']],
        'limit' => [10]
      ->andReturn([[id => '123','name' => 'Bottle Opener']]);

        ->where(['name' => 'Bottle Opener'])
        ->order(['id' => 'desc'])
        ->limit(10))->toBe([[id => '123','name' => 'Bottle Opener']]);

Function Stubbing

Use allow() to stub almost all functions like so:

it("shows some examples of function stubbing", function() {
    allow('time')->toBeCalled()->andReturn(123, 456, 789);
    allow('time')->toBeCalled()->andRun(function() { return 123; });

    allow('rand')->toBeCalled()->with(0, 10)->andReturn(5);

Monkey Patching

Use allow() to monkey patch classes like so:

it("shows some examples of function stubbing", function() {
    // Monkey patch `PDO` and stub chained methods under the hood.
    allow('PDO')->toReceive('prepare->fetchAll')->andReturn([['name' => 'bob']]);
    allow('PDO')->toReceive('prepare->fetchAll')->andRun(function() {
        return [['name' => 'bob']];

    // Monkey patch `PDO` with a specific class.

    // Monkey patch `DateTime` with a specific instance
    // WARNING: instance substitution doesn't work by reference.
    // Ex: `$date =& $obj->myDate()`, the date won't be substited here.
    allow('DateTime')->toBe(new DateTime('@123'));

    // Monkey patch `PDO` with a generic stub instance.