Fixtures are Yii's default way to maintain and reuse test data but they impose a number of problems. Maintaining fixtures of more complex records can be tedious. Changing the schema means you have to change the fixtures, in a non-obvious way.
yii-factory-girl is fixture replacement framework. Although it can, and should be used together with fixtures, especially when you already have a stable test suite using fixtures. It takes ideas from
factory_girl for Ruby and
factory_girl_rails made for ruby on rails and is using some of the ground work done by another developer
kengos and his
yii-factory-girl is hosted on github and contributions (via pull-requests), issue reports and comments are most welcome.
yii-factory-girl was created for my startup project CarSpending as my fixtures started growing too much. As I'm currently planning migration to Yii2.0, there will be new, better version of the extension dedicated to Yii2.
Requires PHP 5.3+, tested with Yii 1.1.15, although it should work with earlier versions just the same.
I'll write wiki article that covers Purpose, Install and Usage of using factories in more detail.