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10 JavaScript Unit Testing Frameworks and Task Runners

Whether you are a front-end developer or a back-end ninja, chances are you have written your fair share of JavaScript. To ensure your JavaScript functions run as designed, you should unit-test your code. I know writing tests is a pain. But the peace of mind it gives is worth the extra effort. Here I am going to list a handful of JavaScript unit-testing frameworks and task runners. Most of these frameworks’ API sounds more like a natural language. So they have a very gentle learning curve.

Frameworks

1. Unitjs


Unit.js is an assertion library for Javascript, running on Node.js and the browser. It works with any test runner and unit testing framework. The learning curve to be productive with Unit.js is very short. Unit.js has multiple interfaces that allow the developer to choose the most comfortable and productive style. Unit.js is an open source project, the repository is hosted on GitHub.

2. QUnit


QUnit is a powerful, easy-to-use JavaScript unit testing framework. It’s used by the jQuery, jQuery UI and jQuery Mobile projects and is capable of testing any generic JavaScript code, including itself! QUnit currently supports the same browsers as jQuery 3.x. QUnit was originally developed by John Resig as part of jQuery. In 2008 it got its own home, name and API documentation, allowing others to use it for their unit testing as well. At the time it still depended on jQuery. A rewrite in 2009 fixed that, and now QUnit runs completely standalone.

3. Mocha

mocha js unit testing
Mocha is a feature-rich JavaScript test framework running on Node.js and in the browser, making asynchronous testing simple and fun. The tests run serially, allowing for flexible and accurate reporting, while mapping uncaught exceptions to the correct test cases. Hosted on GitHub.

4. Chai

chaijs
Chai is an assertion library for node and the browser that can be delightfully paired with any JavaScript testing framework. It has several interfaces that allow the developer to choose the most comfortable. The chain-capable BDD (Behavior Driven Development) styles provide an expressive language & readable style, while the TDD (Test Driven Development) assert style provides a more classical feel. Chai is hosted on GitHub.

5. Jasmine

jasmine javascript framework
Jasmine is a behavior-driven development framework for testing JavaScript code. It does not depend on any other JavaScript frameworks. It does not require a DOM. And it has a clean, obvious syntax so that you can easily write tests.

6. Jest

Jest javascript framework
Jest is complete and ready to set-up JavaScript testing solution. Its fast interactive watch mode runs only test files related to changed files and is optimized to give signal quickly. Jest is used by Facebook to test all JavaScript code including React applications. One of Jest’s philosophies is to provide an integrated “zero-configuration” experience.

7. Tape

tape javascript unit testing framework
Tape simplifies unit-testing eliminating the need to use an assertion library. Tape supports a number of modules that pretty-prints error or success messages on the terminal. You can even use tape’s binary to run unit-tests.

Task Runners

After you write your tests, you need to automate the process of running them. This is where task runners enter the game. Here are a few task runners which plays well with other unit-testing frameworks listed above.

1. Karma

karma task runner

Karma is a simple tool that allows you to execute JavaScript code in multiple real browsers. Karma is not a testing framework, nor an assertion library. Karma just launches an HTTP server, and generates the test runner HTML file you probably already know from your favourite testing framework. So for testing purposes you can use pretty much anything you like.

2. Cucumber

Cucumber is a tool for running automated tests written in plain language. Because they’re written in plain language, they can be read by anyone on your team. Because they can be read by anyone, you can use them to help improve communication, collaboration and trust on your team.

3. Nightwatch.js

nightwatch.js task runner
Nightwatch.js is an easy to use Node.js based End-to-End (E2E) testing solution for browser based apps and websites. It uses the powerful W3C WebDriver API to perform commands and assertions on DOM elements. It has a built-in command-line test runner which can run the tests either sequentially or in parallel, together, by group, tags or single.

Conclusion

Love it or hate it, unit-testing is important part of the workflow. If you need your code to be reliable, secure and bulletproof, unit-testing is your weapon of choice. These frameworks and task runners come handy if you need a good night’s sleep, without having to worry about your code.