Command Line WordPress, Node.js, Unit Testing

Dockunit: Containerized Unit Testing Across Any Platform and Programming Language


I want my application to work on all the environments I claim to support but I have no way of easily testing updates in each environment.

Bad Solution:

Continuously push to your remote to force Travis CI to test changes in multiple environments.

Good Solution:

Containerized unit testing with Dockunit.

Dockunit is a simple node command that lets you run your test framework of choice across a number of predefined containers. Each container can have it’s own test command and Docker image. It was born out of the need to ensure my PHP applications (WordPress specifically) were compatible with a spectrum of environments. Travis CI dropping support for PHP 5.2 was the final straw so I created this command for myself and decided to make it public.

Install/Usage Instructions for Dockunit

1. Ensure dependencies are met. See requirements on Github.

2. Install Dockunit

npm install -g dockunit

3. Setup project(s) with predefined containers.

To do this create a file called Dockunit.json in the root of any project you want to run Dockunit on. Github contains specific guidelines for how to write Dockunit.json files. Here is an example file for testing a WordPress plugin in PHP 5.2 FPM in WordPress 4.1, PHP 5.5 FPM in WordPress 4.0, and PHP 5.5 for Apache in WordPress 3.9:

  "containers": [
      "prettyName": "PHP 5.2 FPM WordPress 4.1",
      "image": "tlovett1/php-5.2-phpunit-3.5",
      "beforeScripts": [
        "service mysql start",
        "bash bin/ wordpress_test root '' localhost 4.1"
      "testCommand": "phpunit"
      "prettyName": "PHP 5.5 FPM WordPress 4.0",
      "image": "tlovett1/php-fpm-phpunit-wp",
      "beforeScripts": [
        "service mysql start",
        "bash bin/ wordpress_test2 root '' localhost 4.0"
      "testCommand": "phpunit"
      "prettyName": "PHP 5.5 for Apache WordPress 3.9",
      "image": "tlovett1/php-apache-phpunit-wp",
      "beforeScripts": [
        "service mysql start",
        "bash bin/ wordpress_test3 root '' localhost 3.9"
      "testCommand": "phpunit"

3. Run Dockunit command.


Note: This assumes you have changed directories to your project root. You may need to sudo.

Detailed command usage instructions can be found on Github. Contributions and bug reports are encouraged :).

Command Line WordPress, Node.js, WordPress for Enterprise

Run WordPress Cron on Real Unix Cron with Node.js

WordPress cron is a confusing beast. Most people don’t understand it or intentionally use it. It is not the same technology as Unix cron. Scheduled post functionality actually depends on WordPress cron. By default on every page load, WordPress checks to see if any cron events are due to fire. If an event is due, it sends a request to wp-cron.php asynchronously to execute the event(s).

So what?

This system works great for small websites running simple theme and plugin setups. Often when building WordPress applications for enterprise, enough resource intensive events get setup on cron that HTTP requests timeout before completion. We can circumvent this problem by executing WordPress cron using actual cron.

wp-cron-node is a simple node command that runs WordPress cron events via PHP CLI and Unix cron. It will execute WordPress cron events that are due for execution. The command requires WP-CLI.

Let’s run our scheduled events using actual Unix cron and Node:

  1. Make sure npm and WP-CLI are installed.
  2. Run the following command:
    npm install -g wp-cron-node
  3. Disable WordPress cron. This will prevent HTTP requests from triggering cron events. Put this code in wp-config.php:
    define( 'DISABLE_WP_CRON', true );
  4. Finally, setup your crontab file to your liking. Edit your crontab with the following command:
    crontab -e

    Here is an example crontab entry that will check for scheduled events every 10 minutes.

    */10 * * * * wp-cron-node /path/to/wp

    Note: Running this every 10 minutes means cron events could fire up to 10 minutes late. Ten is a conservative number for performance reasons. Change this to whatever makes you comfortable.

Node Module for Detecting Modified Core WordPress Files

Modifying core WordPress files is a quick way to introduce security vulnerabilities, break your site, and break future updates. From the perspective of a developer, nothing is worse than searching through a theme and plugins for a problem only to discover a previous developer modified a core WordPress file an introduced a bug.

I wrote a simple Node module that lets you easily check WordPress installations for modified or removed core files. Install the detect-wp-core-modifications npm package with the following shell command:

npm install -g detect-wp-core-modifications

You can run the command without any arguments from within the root of a WordPress installation with the following shell


You can also specify a relative or absolute path to a WordPress installation:

detect-wp-core-modifications ../wordpress