Guide on writing unit tests for drift databases

Flutter apps using drift can always be tested with integration tests running on a real device. This guide focuses on writing unit tests for a database written in drift. Those tests can be run and debugged on your computer without additional setup, you don't need a physical device to run them.


For this guide, we're going to test a very simple database that stores user names. The only important change from a regular drift database is the constructor: We make the QueryExecutor argument explicit instead of having a no-args constructor that passes a fixed executor (like a FlutterQueryExecutor or a NativeDatabase) to the superclass:

import 'package:drift/drift.dart';

part 'database.g.dart';

class Users extends Table {
  IntColumn get id => integer().autoIncrement()();
  TextColumn get name => text()();

@DriftDatabase(tables: [Users])
class MyDatabase extends _$MyDatabase {
  MyDatabase(QueryExecutor e) : super(e);

  int get schemaVersion => 1;

  /// Creates a user and returns their id
  Future<int> createUser(String name) {
    return into(users).insert(UsersCompanion.insert(name: name));

  /// Changes the name of a user with the [id] to the [newName].id] to the [newName].
  Future<void> updateName(int id, String newName) {
    return update(users).replace(User(id: id, name: newName));

  Stream<User> watchUserWithId(int id) {
    return (select(users)..where((u) => u.id.equals(id))).watchSingle();

Writing tests

We can create an in-memory version of the database by using a NativeDatabase.memory() instead of a FlutterQueryExecutor or other implementations. A good place to open the database is the setUp and tearDown methods from package:test:

import 'package:drift/native.dart';
import 'package:test/test.dart';
// the file defined above, you can test any drift database of course
import 'database.dart';

void main() {
  MyDatabase database;

  setUp(() {
    database = MyDatabase(NativeDatabase.memory());
  tearDown(() async {
    await database.close();

With that setup in place, we can finally write some tests:

test('users can be created', () async {
  final id = await database.createUser('some user');
  final user = await database.watchUserWithId(id).first;

  expect(user.name, 'some user');

test('stream emits a new user when the name updates', () async {
  final id = await database.createUser('first name');

  final expectation = expectLater(
    database.watchUserWithId(id).map((user) => user.name),
    emitsInOrder(['first name', 'changed name']),

  await database.updateName(id, 'changed name');
  await expectation;

Testing migrations

Drift can help you generate code for schema migrations. For more details, see this guide.