1. 8.2.x core/core.api.php php_assert
  2. 8.0.x core/core.api.php php_assert
  3. 8.1.x core/core.api.php php_assert
  4. 8.3.x core/core.api.php php_assert

Use of the assert() statement in Drupal.

Unit tests also use the term "assertion" to refer to test conditions, so to avoid confusion the term "runtime assertion" will be used for the assert() statement throughout the documentation.

A runtime assertion is a statement that is expected to always be true at the point in the code it appears at. They are tested using PHP's internal assert() statement. If an assertion is ever FALSE it indicates an error in the code or in module or theme configuration files. User-provided configuration files should be verified with standard control structures at all times, not just checked in development environments with assert() statements on.

When runtime assertions fail in PHP 7 an \AssertionError is thrown. Drupal uses an assertion callback to do the same in PHP 5.x so that unit tests involving runtime assertions will work uniformly across both versions.

The Drupal project primarily uses runtime assertions to enforce the expectations of the API by failing when incorrect calls are made by code under development. While PHP type hinting does this for objects and arrays, runtime assertions do this for scalars (strings, integers, floats, etc.) and complex data structures such as cache and render arrays. They ensure that methods' return values are the documented datatypes. They also verify that objects have been properly configured and set up by the service container. Runtime assertions are checked throughout development. They supplement unit tests by checking scenarios that do not have unit tests written for them, and by testing the API calls made by all the code in the system.

When using assert() keep the following in mind:

  • Runtime assertions are disabled by default in production and enabled in development, so they can't be used as control structures. Use exceptions for errors that can occur in production no matter how unlikely they are.
  • Assert() functions in a buggy manner prior to PHP 7. If you do not use a string for the first argument of the statement but instead use a function call or expression then that code will be evaluated even when runtime assertions are turned off. To avoid this you must use a string as the first argument, and assert will pass this string to the eval() statement.
  • Since runtime assertion strings are parsed by eval() use caution when using them to work with data that may be unsanitized.

See https://www.drupal.org/node/2492225 for more information on runtime assertions.


core/core.api.php, line 1183
Documentation landing page and topics, plus core library hooks.


Namesort descending Location Description
Handle core/lib/Drupal/Component/Assertion/Handle.php Handler for runtime assertion failures.
Inspector core/lib/Drupal/Component/Assertion/Inspector.php Generic inspections for the assert() statement.