I'm busy writing a test suite for Laravel and wanted more flexibility than the built-in options that Laravel offers for working with databases between tests.
Using the DataMigrations trait meant that my seed data would be lost after every test. Migrating and seeding my entire database for every test in my suite is very time consuming.
Even when using an in-memory sqlite database doing a complete migration and seed was taking several seconds on my dev box.
If I used the DataTransactions trait then my migrations and seeds would never run and so my tests would fail because the fixture data is missing.
My solution was to use a static variable in the base TestCase class that Laravel supplies. It has to be static so that it retains its values between tests by the way. This variable is a boolean flag and tracks whether we need to run the migrations and seeds. We initialise the class with it set on and so the migrations and seeds will run the first time that any test run.
Now the fact that I'm using Laravel DataTransactions should spare me from affecting the database between tests but if I wanted to be 100% certain I could set the flag and have my database refreshed when the next test runs.
This also means that if the DataTransactions trait is not sufficient (for example I'm using multiple database connections) then I can manually refresh when I want to.