Logging in as an existing user in a Behat test with the Drupal Extension

There are some occasions when I want my Drupal Behat tests to perform some action as a user that already exists on the Drupal site. For example, I have a test install profile with some Default Content (users, nodes, taxonomy terms, etc.), and it already has a large set of default test data set up on the site for the benefit of developers who need to work on theming/site building.

Rather than define a ton of extra Behat steps to re-create all this test content and these test users, I just want Behat to log in as an existing user and perform actions with the pre-existing content.

Note that this might not be a good idea depending on the structure or philosophy of your site's testing. As a general principle, state should be avoided—and that includes things like 'having a set of default stuff already existing before a test runs'. However, in the real world there are situations where it's a ton easier to just use the state that exists 🙃.

The problem

Out of the box, the Drupal API Driver lets you create a user in a Scenario and then use that created user, like so:

  Scenario: Login as a user created during this scenario
    Given users:
    | name      | status |
    | Test user |      1 |
    When I am logged in as "Test user"
    Then I should see the link "Log out"

But if you try to log in as an existing user, e.g.:

  Scenario: Login as an existing user
    Given I am logged in as "Existing user"
    Then I should see the link "Log out"

You'll get the error:

Exception: No user with Existing user name is registered with the driver. in /var/www/html/vendor/drupal/drupal-extension/src/Drupal/DrupalUserManager.php:57

The Solution

There are two ways you can solve this problem:

  1. You can write a bunch of steps to go to the login page, fill in a username and password, and click 'Log In', then do the rest of your scenario.
  2. You can write your own step definition, e.g. iAmLoggedInAsUser().

The first option is okay, but then you have to store a password somewhere in your code (which just feels dirty, even if it's just for testing), and it's a few extra steps every time you want to run a scenario as that user!

For the second option, I quickly found the following issue in the Drupal Extension's issue queue: Use drush user-login to login user. Taking some of the examples from there, I came up with the following step definition in my FeatureContext.php file:

   * @Given I am logged in as user :name
public function iAmLoggedInAsUser($name) {
$domain = $this->getMinkParameter('base_url');

// Pass base url to drush command.
$uli = $this->getDriver('drush')->drush('uli', [
"--name '" . $name . "'",

// Trim EOL characters.
$uli = trim($uli);

// Log in.

Now I can write my Scenario like so:

  @api @javascript
  Scenario: Log in as Existing user
    Given I am logged in as user "Existing user"
    And I am on "/"
    Then I should see the link "Log out"