Weds April 20th 2022


  • 18:30 – Join us for a chat
  • 19:00 – Introduction
  • 19:05 – From Betamax to VCR: harden your API integration testing - James Seconde - (@SecondeJ)
  • 19:40 - TBA
  • 20:15ish – End

Free tickets are available on Meetup.

This is a free online event, open to all.

We’ll be using Big Orange Heart’s event platform for this event. This works through your web browser and is available to everyone who is RSVP’d at

The platform will be open from 18:30 so feel free to join us for a bit of chat before the event starts at 19:00.

The Talks

From Betamax to VCR: harden your API integration testing - James Seconde

James Seconde @SecondeJ

This talk comes from inheriting a complete, widely used open source PHP API library. It’s complete in that it has a full test suite, but problems arise from the approach of mocking JSON responses to assert tests on. The responses have to be maintained, and that can inevitably lead to false positives if the underlying API changes without the maintainer being notified. You can be clever and use a git submodule to bring in a standardised response that can be used by the same library in other languages, but then you need someone to maintain that across various departments of engineering. A chat with my colleague who is the resident Ruby library developer revealed that VCR has been used across the Ruby world for years. Why hadn’t I come across this approach, after years of PHP development (and specifically API testing work)? My passion is for expressive, self-documenting code. After all, it’s what I do in my current role: I advocate for the PHP developer community, and PHP developers are the ones that I maintain that library for. VCR plus integration with the PEST testing framework gives that readability we should strive for - it helps developers understand what your code is doing with responses. But the biggest thing here is the ability to trigger a record when something upstream changes. If someone pushes out a change to the OpenAPI specification, you can get a webhook to trigger a build on your library. The response is different, something has been removed or added, and your test suite fails. A test written in PEST, so highly readable. If you’re a new developer on the project, you’re being told what needs fixing, and that is a story that needs telling.

Free tickets are available on Meetup.