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JavaScript Unit Testing

Adoption in the Enterprise - @JonGregory77

A few quick questions

Whos using Javascript?

Whos writing Tests for JavaScript?

Who enjoys working with JavaScript?

I enjoy working with JavaScript!


Jon Gregory Technical Architect at Microlise, have been working with .Net since 2.0

Microlise supply vehicle tracking, telematics and proof of delivery solutions.

Our approach to adopting JS Unit Testing

Thank you for coming

Technical Architect at Microlise, What does a Technical Architect do at Microlise?

Well most of it is sounding confident and blagging but sometimes I get to look at tools and techniques.

As you heard Microlise is telematics company and primarily a Microsoft .Net Software house.

This talk is about how we approached adopting JavaScript Unit Testing.

We had no background in this and this talk is aimed at showing how we got started, where we are now and what we are going to do next.

If you have any feedback or are doing something different with JS Unit Testing would be great to hear about it


Two Large Web Forms / MVC Hybrid Applications

Organically grown JavaScript

Unstructured large JavaScript files

Increasing use of front end logic

UX team using bootstrap based UI framework

We have two large web application which started life as years ago using Web Forms and now have MVC added in.

We are migrating to MVC and not got much left to do

Majority developers C# is first language and JavaScript is a means to an end for the client work.

Working in a SCRUM style tend to get small task which have been adding into the JavaScript files a little at a time.

Without controls this has led to large unstructured JavaScript files.

Over the last few years we have adopted Knockout and Twitter Bootstrap derived UI framework and SignalR, which has led to increase use of JavaScript.

State of JavaScript

Ball of Wool Design Pattern!

Found it is very easy to quickly get in a bit of state with JavaScript.

Because it is not the primary language used and doesn't have the same tool set support in VS

Found it has not always had the same level of attention as with the C#.

State of JavaScript

In-line JavaScript

Difficult to read unstructured files

Multiple JQuery versions

JQuery selectors binding to the view

Ball of wool design pattern!

Some of the naughty things that have happened

Small pieces of js added into views then added to and added to over time so we end up with inline javascript

C# Web forms developers not experienced being closer to HTML and JavaScript

JQuery selectors binding javascript to views

Multiple versions of JQuery reluctant to upgrade for risk of breaking.

It Has Become costly and Time Consuming to support

Unit Testing

So we thought would Unit Testing JavaScript Help?

Unit Testing

Invested heavily in C# Unit Testing

Benefits in good design & confidence in code

We wanted the same for JavaScript!

We have been using Unit Testing for a number of years on the C# side and the concepts were well understood.

We knew the benefits were

Improved Design

Live Documentation

Confidence in Code

Early Detection of Bugs

Improved Quality of life :)


Perception it wouldn't add value

Wasn't clear what could be tested

We hadn't looked at what was possible

Visual Studio didn't provide the tools

Wasn't all plain sailing

Some people were all for it, others were less keen

Some of the initial feedback was

Difficult to do

Poor tooling available

Lot of Effort for little reward

There wasn't enough logic in JS to test

So we had some work to do to meet these challenges and convince people it was worth doing.

C# => JS

Friction Free

We needed a solution that would be friction free and easy for everyone to adopt.

We wanted to transition Unit Testing and mocking skills gained in C# to JS

Looking for something that was as close as possible to NUnit and MOQ as practically possible.

Aimed to provide a framework and resources so developers could start quickly and just concentrate on writing tests.

If its not easy and fun to write tests then we wouldn't get quality tests produced

Real World

We had big constraint in some customers use IE8 , we supply to the transport and public sectors and they are slow to upgrade.

Anything we chose had to work well with IE8

We had to be able to mock JQuery selectors to be able to support legacy JavaScript SinonJS allowed us to do this.


There are many many tools available now, too many to be able to practically evaluate.

We looked at the three most mentioned in the community.

QUnit - TDD

Jasmine - BDD

Mocha All the above!


Many tools available

Community recommended top three

QUnit, Jasmine and Mocha

QUnit and Mocha need a mocking framework

Jasmine provides its own mocking framework but Mocha and QUnit don't so also looked at SinonJS

Chose mocha because most flexible and can run in node for command line work

Can use BDD and TDD style for test and QUnit Tests.

TDD closer to the way we are currently working

Mocha ships with Chai.js as the expectation framework.

This is the provider that does the assertion at the end of the test, chai.js does not support IE8

Fortunately Mocha allows you to substitute this an we can use Expect.js which supports IE8.

Can swap for each test suite so not restricting ourselves.

Test Runner

Needed to be able to run the tests!

ReSharper plugin available for Mocha but requires NodeJS

Chutzpah easier and free Visual Studio plugin

Chose to look at running in Node as a Phase 2

Plugin available to run Mocha tests in Resharper

But there is a great visual studio plugin called Chutzpah which is free

Will show Chutzpah later in code demo

Chose to use Mocha MVC Controller so can be able to run from a web page

This is hidden behind a permission attribute - retain the option to run on customer site for investigation

Can also run from Static HTML for non MVC application

We new the tests could be run from the command line using node and then integrate into build process, we chose to leave this to a phase 2 once the processes had been adopted and we had a suite of tests.

This was just down to time constraints


File structure convention

Mocha Controller added to MVC Applications

Static HTML

Training and sample applications

Visual Studio / Resharper Templates

So we had chosen;

Mocha as the test frameworkSinonJS for the Mocking / Test Double FrameworkAnd Expect.js as our IE8 friendly expectation framework

How were we going to approach the implementation and rollout.

Visual Studio Templates for test files and projects with all the infrastructure required.

Created a Sample Application with basic tests in for each technique Mocking, Stubs etc etc

Help Hands on Training Session with simple exercises so everyone could have a go.

File Structure - MVC


ASP.Net nased on convention over configuration

We wanted a convention so we didn't end up with tests smeared through the application.

If everything is under a folder called test we can pick this up with a test runner as part of the build process mocha defaults to looking for a Test folder (mention typo)

Our MVC content files follow an internal convention which allows the javascript file and the MVC view to be related by name.

The tests follow the same convention allowing the file under test and the test to be related.

File Structure - Logic



This second convention is for JavaScript files not related to MVC views

Again allows the file under test and the test file to be related.

No easy peasy resharper navigation available in javascript!

Code Demo


The mother in law gets upset when I use her picture in presentations


Looking at ways of adding into out continuous integration & inspection process

Work to improve JavaScript coding techniques and writing structured JavaScript

NCrunch Style continuous runner.

Continuing to promote and train to increase uptake

We are looking at ways of adding into out continuous integration and Continuous Inspections to monitor quality and coverage

We use NCrunch for C# want to create a continuous runner for JavaScript which is possible.

Looking at Karma, Testacular, PhantomJS

Still some adoption challenges to get over, large part of this work has been coaching and promoting

Work to improve JavaScript coding techniques and writing better structured JavaScript, using Immediately Invoked Functions as seen in the code demo

Separate out selectors to prevent having to mock

Useful Links

PluralSight Testing