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Liquibase SDK Test Environments


To make it easy to spin up standardized test environments for testing, Liquibase has an abstraction around at liquibase/extension/testing/testsystem.

The wrapper around Test Containers allows us to provide a simple configuration system, plus support testing databases that do not have Docker containers such as in-memory and cloud databases.


The SDK Test Environment System is currently only available in the main Liquibase repository, not for extensions.


The default test environments and settings are configured in liquibase-extension-testing/src/main/resources/liquibase.sdk.yaml.

That file configures the various databases including docker image settings and users to create. Generally, each test system will be created with:

  • A lbuser user with a password LiquibasePass1
  • A catalog/database called lbcat
  • An alternate catalog/database named lbcat2
  • An alternate schema named lbschem2

Besides the environment configuration, the default setup also sets the liquibase.sdk.testSystem.test configuration to h2,hsqldb,sqlite. This setting controls which databases are tested against and which are skipped. Note that by default only in-memory databases will be used.

Custom Configuration

The SDK Test Environment setup looks up configuration keys in:

  1. System properties
  2. Environment Variables
  3. A liquibase.sdk.local.yaml file
  4. A liquibase.sdk.yaml file

If a configuration is set in multiple locations, it will use the value it finds first given the above order.

For example, by default the MysqlIntegrationTest will skip all tests because liquibase.sdk.testSystem.test does not include "mysql". To customize that configuration, you could:

  • Add a -Dliquibase.sdk.testSystem.test=mysql argument to your java call. This works well when running specific tests from your IDE's "test run" configuration which you don't always want to enable
  • Add a LIQUBASE_SDK_TEST_SYSTEM_TEST=mysql environment variable. This works like a system property but may be easier to set depending on how you are working
  • Create a liquibase.sdk.local.yaml file in liquibase-extension-testing/src/main/resources next to liquibase.sdk.yaml. This file is not checked into git, and works well for more permanent/consistent changes you would like to make

Configuration Structure

All settings for the test environments use the liquibase.sdk.testSystem prefix. The overall structure can be seen in the liquibase-extension-testing/src/main/resources/liquibase.sdk.yaml file.

For each test environment, there is a top-level "key" for it. For example, liquibase.sdk.testSystem.mysql. There is also a liquibase.sdk.testSystem.default section which contains default/standard settings.

When code is looking for a particular setting such as liquibase.sdk.testSystem.mysql.username it will first look for liquibase.sdk.testSystem.mysql.username in all the locations it could be set and if none has that setting, it will look for liquibase.sdk.testSystem.default.username in those same locations.

This allows common settings such as "username" to be shared across environments while keeping environment-specific settings like "imageName" separate.

Example liquibase.sdk.local.yaml File

Anything you set in liquibase.sdk.local.yaml file will override what is in the default liquibase.sdk.yaml file, but there is no need to duplicate settings from the liquibase.sdk.yaml file. Copy/pasting settings from the default only risks unexpected drift between what you are testing against and what others use.

Example file:

      test: h2,mysql,postgresql

        version: 8.0

This changes what databases are tested against to be only h2, mysql, and postgresql without changing what is tested against. It also changes the mysql version to test to "8.0" regardless of what the default is.

Starting Databases

In Tests

Tests can auto-start databases on demand when they are run.

A call to


will either return the database connection after starting the database OR throw a AssumptionViolatedException exception which causes the test to be skipped.

The liquibase.sdk.testSystem.test setting controls which environments to auto-start and which to skip.

The AbstractIntegrationTest base class contains this logic for the classic integration tests.


To start and stop test systems manually, you can use the liquibase sdk system up and liquibase sdk system down commands.

NOTE: these commands are part of the liquibase-extension-testing module and are not currently shipped as published artifacts.

Therefore, to use them you must either:

  • Run mvn package from the root of the Liquibase repository and copy liquibase-extension-testing/target/liquibase-extension-testing-0-SNAPSHOT.jar to your LIQUIBASE_HOME/lib directory
  • From your IDE, run liquibase.integration.commandline.LiquibaseLauncher using the liquibase-extension-testing classpath

The "up" and "down" commands let you start and top the test environments as needed.

Any tests you run will use these manually started environments rather than creating their own.

Last update: April 5, 2023
Created: February 22, 2023