Setting up PHPUnit and NetBeans 7.4

The last time I attempted to configure NetBeans to use PHPUnit is what drove me to write Tester.php. Second time’s the charm! In this post, I document the steps I took to successfully install PHPUnit 3.7 and configure NetBeans 7.3 and 7.4 to be able to run the tests and use the Skeleton Generator.


I will make the following assumptions about your machine:

  • PHP is already installed at C:\PHP
  • NetBeans is already installed
  • You have a PHP project in NetBeans called MyWebApplication located at C:\sites\

1. Create the directories to hold PHPUnit and unit tests

Create the directories C:\PHP\phpunit and C:\sites\MyWebApplication\testing.

Note that since you’re doing this install manually, these can be wherever you want. But the instructions from here will assume you used the aforementioned names.

2. Download the two files you need from the PHPUnit homepage

Get phpunit.phar from

Get phpunit-skelgen.phar from

Save both of these files in C:\PHP\phpunit.

3. Create the batch file wrappers for the .phar files

Next, you will create two batch files phpunit.bat and phpunit-skelgen.bat that you’re going to call whenever you want to run PHPUnit. These files are also what you will point NetBeans to.

Again, save both of these files in C:\PHP\phpunit.

The contents of phpunit.bat:
@echo off
set PHPBIN=C:\PHP\php.exe
"%PHPBIN%" -d safe_mode=Off "C:\PHP\PHPUnit\phpunit.phar" %*
The contents of phpunit-skelgen.bat:
@echo off
set PHPBIN=C:\PHP\php.exe
"%PHPBIN%" -d safe_mode=Off "C:\PHP\PHPUnit\phpunit-skelgen.phar" %*
Test these on the command line with the following commands:
\php\phpunit\phpunit.bat --version
PHPUnit 3.7 by Sebastian Bergmann

\php\phpunit\phpunit-skelgen.bat --version
PHPUnit Skeleton Generator 1.2.1 by Sebastian Bergmann.

4. Tell NetBeans where PHPUnit is installed

In NetBeans, click on Tools > Options. On the Options dialog, click the PHP tab, then the Unit Testing tab.

Set the following options and click OK:
Option Value
PHPUnit Script C:\PHP\phpunit\phpunit.bat
Skeleton Generator Script C:\PHP\phpunit\phpunit-skelgen.bat

5. Enable testing on MyWebApplication project

In NetBeans, right click on MyWebApplication in the Project Explorer and click Properties.

On the Project Properties dialog, under the Sources and PHPUnit sections, set the following options and click OK:
Option Value Description
Test Folder C:\sites\\testing This is where the unit tests will live
Use Bootstrap Checked Optional**
Bootstrap C:\sites\\testing\bootstrap.php Optional **
Run All *Test Files Using PHPUnit Checked

At this point, you can build and run unit tests from NetBeans without using the Skeleton Generator if you know what you’re doing.

Note that if you have other testing plugins installed, you may see a Testing node which contains a PHPUnit child node among others. If this is the case, on the Testing node, check the checkbox next to PHPUnit under Testing Providers.

6. Run the Skeleton Generator on one of your classes

In the Project Explorer, click on the file you want to generate a test for. Click on Tools > Create Test from the menu and it should create your unit test. I believe the hot-key for this command defaults to Ctrl+Shift+U.

Note that I get a warning modal saying “Tests were not generated for the following files: […]” when I use this on my office workstation (NetBeans 7.4) even though the script executes without error and actually creates the tests. I don’t get these warnings with my work laptop (NetBeans 7.3). I haven’t figured out how to resolve this, but since it actually creates the files, it’s more a nuissance than a show stopper.

Also note that, although it will attempt to create a directory structure in the testing folder corresponding to the source file’s original location, there is a chance that NetBeans will not actually be able to move the file into it. In that event, the test will be in the testing root directory (i.e., C:\sites\\testing). This is likely related to the issue above.

The moment of truth

Once you have used the Skeleton Generator to create a test and added at least one test method to it, you should be able to run tests from NetBeans.

In the Project Explorer, right click on the file you just generated a test for and click Test. If you want to see the red and green bar (which I always do), click on Window > Output > Test Results to open the Test Results pane.

And that’s all, folks!

Reach out to me @spoonchucks if there are any errors.

(Updated 2015-09-10): Thanks to @minxian_li for pointing out the errors I had in my phpunit.bat and phpunit-skelgen.bat scripts.


How to Create and Set the Bootstrap script (optional)

The bootstrap is good for constructing an execution environment similar to the operating conditions of the class being tested. Here is a contrived example for our imaginary NetBeans project MyWebApplication:

define('PATH_BASE', '/sites/');


spl_autoload_register(function($name) {

    // Autoload anything in the mywebapplication namespace
    if (0 === strpos("mywebapplication\\", $name)) {
        $name = strreplace("\\", '/', $name);
        require $name;

}, true, true);

This file would be stored at C:\sites\\testing\bootstrap.php, although you can name it whatever you want.


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