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Go Test Fixtures

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Warning: this package will wipe the database data before loading the fixtures! It is supposed to be used on a test database. Please, double check if you are running it against the correct database.

Writing tests is hard, even more when you have to deal with an SQL database. This package aims to make writing functional tests for web apps written in Go easier.

Basically this package mimics the "Rails' way" of writing tests for database applications, where sample data is kept in fixtures files. Before the execution of every test, the test database is cleaned and the fixture data is loaded into the database.

The idea is running tests against a real database, instead of relying in mocks, which is boring to setup and may lead to production bugs not being caught in the tests.


First, get it:

go get -u -v


Create a folder for the fixture files. Each file should contain data for a single table and have the name <table_name>.yml:


The file would look like this (it can have as many record you want):

# comments.yml
- id: 1
  post_id: 1
  content: A comment...
  author_name: John Doe
  created_at: 2016-01-01 12:30:12
  updated_at: 2016-01-01 12:30:12

- id: 2
  post_id: 2
  content: Another comment...
  author_name: John Doe
  created_at: 2016-01-01 12:30:12
  updated_at: 2016-01-01 12:30:12

# ...

An YAML object or array will be converted to JSON. It can be stored on a native JSON type like JSONB on PostgreSQL or as a TEXT or VARCHAR column on other databases.

- id: 1
    author: John Due
    title: "..."
      - programming
      - go
      - testing
    post: "..."

If you need to write raw SQL, probably to call a function, prefix the value of the column with RAW=:

- id: 1
  uuid_column: RAW=uuid_generate_v4()
  postgis_type_column: RAW=ST_GeomFromText('params...')
  created_at: RAW=NOW()
  updated_at: RAW=NOW()

Your tests would look like this:

package myapp

import (

    _ ""

var (
    db *sql.DB
    fixtures *testfixtures.Context

func TestMain(m *testing.M) {
    var err error

    // Open connection with the test database.
    // Do NOT import fixtures in a production database!
    // Existing data would be deleted
    db, err = sql.Open("postgres", "dbname=myapp_test")
    if err != nil {

    // creating the context that hold the fixtures
    // see about all compatible databases in this page below
    fixtures, err = testfixtures.NewFolder(db, &testfixtures.PostgreSQL{}, "testdata/fixtures")
    if err != nil {


func prepareTestDatabase() {
    if err := fixtures.Load(); err != nil {

func TestX(t *testing.T) {
    // your test here ...

func TestY(t *testing.T) {
    // your test here ...

func TestZ(t *testing.T) {
    // your test here ...

Alternatively, you can use the NewFiles function, to specify which files you want to load into the database:

fixtures, err := testfixtures.NewFiles(db, &testfixtures.PostgreSQL{},
    // add as many files you want
if err != nil {

Security check

In order to prevent you from accidentally wiping the wrong database, this package will refuse to load fixtures if the database name (or database filename for SQLite) doesn't contains "test". If you want to disable this check, use:



For PostgreSQL or Oracle, this package also resets all sequences to a high number to prevent duplicated primary keys while running the tests. The default is 10000, but you can change that with:


Compatible databases


This package has two approaches to disable foreign keys while importing fixtures in PostgreSQL databases:


This is the default approach. For that use:


With the above snippet this package will use DISABLE TRIGGER to temporarily disabling foreign key constraints while loading fixtures. This work with any version of PostgreSQL, but it is required to be connected in the database as a SUPERUSER. You can make a PostgreSQL user a SUPERUSER with:



This approach don't require to be connected as a SUPERUSER, but only work with PostgreSQL versions >= 9.4. Try this if you are getting foreign key violation errors with the previous approach. It is as simple as using:

&testfixtures.PostgreSQL{UseAlterConstraint: true}

MySQL / MariaDB

Just make sure the connection string have the multistatement parameter set to true, and use:



SQLite is also supported. It is recommended to create foreign keys as DEFERRABLE (the default) to prevent problems. See more on the SQLite documentation. (Foreign key constraints are no-op by default on SQLite, but enabling it is recommended).


Microsoft SQL Server

SQL Server support requires SQL Server >= 2008. Inserting on IDENTITY columns are handled as well. Just make sure you are logged in with a user with ALTER TABLE permission.



Oracle is supported as well. Use:


Generating fixtures for a existing database (experimental)

The following code will generate a YAML file for each table of the database in the given folder. It may be useful to boostrap a test scenario from a sample database of your app.

err := testfixtures.GenerateFixtures(db, &testfixtures.PostgreSQL{}, "testdata/fixtures")
if err != nil {
    log.Fatalf("Error generating fixtures: %v", err)


err := testfixtures.GenerateFixturesForTables(
        &TableInfo{Name: "table_name", Where: "foo = 'bar'"},
        // ...
if err != nil {
    log.Fatalf("Error generating fixtures: %v", err)

This was thought to run in small sample databases. It will likely break if run in a production/big database.


Tests were written to ensure everything work as expected. You can run the tests with:

# running tests for PostgreSQL
go test -tags postgresql

# running test for MySQL
go test -tags mysql

# running tests for SQLite
go test -tags sqlite

# running tests for SQL Server
go test -tags sqlserver

# running tests for Oracle
go test -tags oracle

# running test for multiple databases at once
go test -tags 'sqlite postgresql mysql'

# running tests + benchmark
go test -v -bench=. -tags postgresql

Travis runs tests for PostgreSQL, MySQL and SQLite. AppVeyor run for all these and also Microsoft SQL Server.

To set the connection string of tests for each database, copy the .sample.env file as .env and edit it according to your environment.


If you don't think using fixtures is a good idea, you can try one of these packages instead:

  • factory-go: Factory for Go. Inspired by Python's Factory Boy and Ruby's Factory Girl
  • go-txdb (Single transaction SQL driver for Go): Use a single database transaction for each functional test, so you can rollback to previous state between tests to have the same database state in all tests
  • go-sqlmock: A mock for the sql.DB interface. This allow you to unit test database code without having to connect to a real database
  • dbcleaner - Clean database for testing, inspired by database_cleaner for Ruby