Database Seeders

Database seeders are also supported in TripalTestSuite. They give you the ability to create reusable seeders that can be run using the tripaltest command line tool.

Example Seeders

Several example database seeders are provided in tests/DatabaseSeeders/examples. These will not run unless they are copied to tests/DatabaseSeeders/.

Creating Database Seeders

DB seeders can also be created automatically using tripaltest:

./vendor/bin/tripaltest make:seeder ExampleTableSeeder

The above command will create ExampleTableSeeder.php in tests/DatabaseSeeders/ pre-populated with the necessary namespace, methods and properties.

Using Database Seeders

DB seeders support an important method: up(). The up() method is used to insert data into the database when the test class is initialized, making it available to all tests within the class. The following is an example of a Seeder class.


namespace Tests\DatabaseSeeders;

use StatonLab\TripalTestSuite\Database\Seeder;

class UsersTableSeeder extends Seeder
         * Seeds the database with users.
        public function up()
                $new_user = [
                        'name' => 'test user',
                        'pass' => 'secret',
                        'mail' => '',
                        'status' => 1,
                        'init' => 'Email',
                        'roles' => [
                                DRUPAL_AUTHENTICATED_RID => 'authenticated user',

                // The first parameter is sent blank so a new user is created.
                user_save(new \stdClass(), $new_user);

Running Seeders

You can also run the seeder manually by using the static seed() method. For example, within a test class, you can run $seeder = UsersTableSeeder::seed() which runs the up() method and returns an initialized seeder object. If you are using the DBTransaction trait, the data will be automatically rolled at the end of each test function.


Don’t forget to import your seeder at the top of the test file: use  Tests\DatabaseSeeders\UsersTableSeeder;

The other option is to run it using tripaltest as follows

# run all available seeders
tripaltest db:seed

# Run a specific seeder by providing the class name
tripaltest db:seed ExampleSeeder


Running the seeder manually in a test function with DBTransaction enabled, means that the data is available only to that function and nothing else. However, running it using tripaltest makes it always available unless explicitly deleted.

Retrieving Seeder Data

If your seeder returns any data, you can obtain the returned record by manually running the seeder in your test. See below for an example:

// Seeder Class
class MySeeder extends Seeder {
        public function up() {
                // Generate some data.
                $data = db_query(...);

                return $data;

// Test Class
class MyTest extends TripalTestCase {
        public function testExample() {
                $seeder = new MySeeder();
                $data = $seeder->up();

                // Run some tests using the generated data
                // ...

Using DevSeed for Quick Biological Data Seeding

Tripal Test Suite ships with a default seeder called DevSeedSeeder. It is located at tests/DatabaseSeeders/examples/: to use it, copy it to tests/DatabaseSeeders/. This seeder provides a quick and automated way of seeding your database with biological data such as organisms, mRNAs, BLAST annotations and InterProScan annotations. The data in the default seeder is obtained from Tripal DevSeed, which is a developer mini-set of biological data.


The DevSeed seeder must be copied from tests/DatabaseSeeders/examples/ to tests/DatabaseSeeders/. Seeders in the examples folder will not run.

DevSeed uses factories and is therefore only appropriate for testing and development and should not be run on a production site.


DevSeedSeeder.php becomes available after running tripaltest init. The init command will not override existing files unless you specify the --force flag so it it’s safe to run it to get only the DevSeeder.

By default, the DevSeed comes with all sub-loaders enabled. To configure the DevSeed seeder, comment out data types you don’t need in the public static variables section. Then, you can run the seeder using tripaltest db:seed DevSeedSeeder.

  1. If you haven’t already, copy the seeder from tests/DatabaseSeeders/examples to tests/DatabaseSeeders/.
  2. Open DatabaseSeeders/DevSeedSeeder.php
  3. You’ll notice a few commented properties in the top of the file.
  4. Uncomment and modify the properties to your need.
  5. Carefully follow the instructions in this section. All loaders require an organism as well, but some are dependent on previous loaders.
  6. Next, run tripaltest db:seed DevSeedSeeder
  7. If the seeder runs successfully, you’ll be able to see all the records in your Chado database.

The records provided by DevSeed are not published to your site as entities. You can do that by adding $this->publish('CHADO_TABLE') at the end of the up() method of the DevSeedSeeder. Replace CHADO_TABLE with the name of the table such as feature for mRNAs and analysis for analyses. Or, if you prefer, you can use the Tripal admin interface to publish the records.