Engineering

Top 8 JavaScript Testing Frameworks: Everything You Need to Know

5 min read

JavaScript has been one of the most popular front-end web development tools since the turn of the century. This is evident from the Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2022 which ranked it among the top five most wanted programming languages. 

With this immense popularity arises the need for robust and efficient JavaScript testing frameworks. These testing environments enable developers to ensure their code is flawless before deploying it in the wild. But with multiple testing frameworks for JavaScript available, which one should you choose?

The following article will break down into detail eight top JavaScript testing frameworks. Keep reading to learn what framework best fits your business needs.

 

Why Is Javascript Testing Important?

Testing any program before it goes live is just as important as the underlying code. You can’t afford to release a bug-ridden codebase only to recall it later and suffer immense financial and reputational damages. 

When it comes to JavaScript testing, testing frameworks are indispensable. Testing JavaScript code helps developers ensure code integrity and code optimization, two essential attributes of any successful program.

Code Integrity

Code integrity refers to achieving the desired outcome as intended by the developer. The results should also be repeatable in every scenario the code or the program is likely to encounter. 

Testing frameworks reduce manual overhead and automate the task of running tests after every code amendment. 

Code Optimization

Optimized code is the best way to achieve the desired result. Not all routes to a solution are able to strike the perfect balance between functionality and speed. 

Testing helps developers optimize their code to ensure their program is light on resources and packs the necessary functionality at the same time.

 

3 Types of Testing

Software testing, in general, can be classified into three major categories — unit testing, integration testing, and functional testing. These sub-categories test different sections and behaviors of the program before it is published. ""

1. Unit Testing

Unit testing is the process of running tests focused on a small section of the entire code to ensure its functionality. Every individual ‘unit’ of the code is tested before moving on to other testing processes.

2. Integration Testing

Individual units of a code are often dependent on other units for their proper execution. This is where integration testing verifies whether these integrated modules are working in coherence and not conflicting with each other.

3. Functional Testing

Functional or end-to-end testing is required to test the overall functionality of the entire program, ensuring it closely resembles the desired outcome. This testing is used to verify all the complex functionalities of the program including its dependencies on any external information.

What Is a Testing Framework?

A testing framework is a set of tools that enables developers to test their code in an automated environment. 

A testing framework should have the following features at the minimum:

  • Rules or best practices for writing and organizing test cases

  • Ability to automatically execute tests

  • Displays the results of the tests in an easy-to-grasp manner

Top 8 JavaScript Testing Frameworks

There are multiple JavaScript testing frameworks, each with its own unique selling points (USPs), strengths, and weaknesses, Here are some of the most widely used JavaScript testing frameworks:

1. Mocha

Mocha is a popular JavaScript testing framework that runs both in the browser and in the Node.js runtime environment. Known for simple asynchronous testing, Mocha is able to connect unmapped exceptions to the correct test cases while also enabling accurate reporting. 

Another highlight of the framework is its extreme flexibility allowing developers to pair it with any library to perform tests. But this flexibility also requires additional work, at least for the initial setup.

Other key benefits of the Mocha framework include:

  • Front-end and back-end testing support

  • Easy error tracing with Node.js debugger support

  • Compatibility with all browsers, including the headless Chrome library

2. Jest

If you’re looking for a ‘zero-configuration’ testing experience, Jest might be what you’re looking for. Release by Facebook, Jest focuses on simplicity and works out of the box with no additional setup required.

Besides its fast setup, another advantage of the Jest framework is its impressive performance. Jest is primarily used for testing React applications but it is equally useful when testing Node.js, AngularJS, and Vue.js applications. Some other notable features of Jest are as follows: 

  • Compatibility with React, Node, Angular, Vue, and other Babel-based projects

  • Standard syntax with ample documentation

  • Ability to manage tests with larger objects using Live Snapshots

  • Very fast and highly performant

3. Jasmine

Jasmine is a JavaScript behavior-driven development (BDD) test framework. What this means is that Jasmine adopts a user-first approach to testing, in contrast to a developer-first approach. It focuses on how the systems should behave from an end user’s perspective.

Jasmine has various built-in features and components that eliminate the need for third-party tools. Integrable with a large number of additional testing tools, Jasmine is a fairly promising option as your JavaScript testing framework of choice.

This framework also offers the following features: 

  • Small and straightforward syntax for easy testing

  • No requirement for any Document Object Model (DOM)

  • Support for both front-end and back-end tests

4. Karma

Karma is a popular open-source testing environment that prioritizes instant feedback without setting up too many configurations. Testers can execute the application script in real-time on browsers and devices like phones and tablets to verify the code in a practical scenario.

Karma also provides:

  • Integrations with tools like Jenkins, Travis, and Semaphore

  • Support for headless environments like PhantomJS

  • Remote testing directly from a terminal or integrated development environment (IDE)

5. Puppeteer

Puppeteer is not a framework, but a Node.js library enabling users to control a headless Chrome or Chromium browser. Despite not being a framework, Puppeteer offers many advantages regarding JavaScript testing in Chrome, hence its presence on this list.

Automating tests that typically need to be performed manually using a regular browser is one of Puppeteer’s highlights. Its major limitation is that it works only with Chrome and Chromium.

Here are a few other highlights of the Puppeteer library:

  • Support for browser-specific applications like page structure tests and generating screenshots of pages

  • Ability to crawl a single-page application (SPA) and generate pre-rendered content 

  • Automation of form submission, UI testing, keyboard input, etc.

  • Easy capture of a site’s timeline trace to diagnose performance issues

  • Testing of Chrome extensions

6. Nightwatch

Powered by Node.js, Nightwatch is a JavaScript testing framework that automates setup, test execution, and debugging to simplify testing for developers. Not only that, but it also allows parallel testing which further reduces build time. With Nightwatch, you can also select which browser executes tests.

Key benefits of the Nightwatch framework include:

  • Clear syntax for easy comprehension

  • Built-in command-line test runner

  • Standalone Selenium server in a separate child process

  • Automatic management of WebDriver services (Edge, Safari, GeckoDriver)

  • Flexible command and assertion framework

7. Cypress

Cypress framework is an end-to-end JavaScript testing framework built on top of the Mocha framework, making asynchronous testing simple and convenient. Unit tests in Cypress can be executed without running a web server, making it ideal for testing a JavaScript/TypeScript library meant to be used in the browser.

Some additional benefits of Cypress include: 

  • Simple and easy setup

  • Debugging of web apps with Chrome dev tools

  • Ability to test anything that runs in a web browser

  • Active community on GitHub and StackOverflow

  • Quick test execution

8. Protractor

Angular is one of the oldest and most popular frameworks for developing SPAs. Protractor is an end-to-end automation testing framework to test Angular apps in a browser in real-time.

Some other highlights of Protractor are:

  • Easy cross-browser testing with Selenium support

  • Additional locators like repeater, model, and binding

  • Integrability  with frameworks like Cucumber, Jasmine, and Mocha

  • Automated screenshot capture and comparison

  • Support for parallel execution of test cases across multiple workstations

Conclusion

Choosing the right JavaScript testing framework depends on a number of factors — support for front-end or back-end testing, performance over flexibility, dedicated features for a particular development environment, and more. But whichever top testing framework you choose, you’ll need great JavaScript developers to make the most of it.

Trio can connect you to some of the top JavaScript developers in the world without breaking the bank. Trio developers are thoroughly vetted and ready to be onboarded in no time. Trio streamlines the hiring process from start to finish,so you can focus on your project.Contact Trio today to learn more about hiring Javascript developers and scale your development and testing teams to new heights.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is JavaScript?

JavaScript is one of the core programming languages powering the World Wide Web. The front-end languages empowers developers to create dynamic web pages. 

What is a testing framework?

Testing frameworks use a set of rules or best practices to automate tests for a piece of code.

What is integration testing?

Integration testing confirms whether dependencies conflict or work cohesively. 

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