[Francisco Souza] Testing jQuery plugins with Jasmine

Since I started working at Globo.com, I developed some jQuery plugins (for internal use) with my team, and we are starting to test these plugins using Jasmine, “a behavior-driven development framework for testing your JavaScript code”. In this post, I will show how to develop a very simple jQuery plugin (based on an example that I learned with Ricard D. Worth): zebrafy. This plugin “zebrafies” a table, applying different classes to odd and even lines. Let’s start setting up a Jasmine environment…

First step is download the standalone version of Jasmine, then extract it and edit the runner. The runner is a simple HTML file, that loads Jasmine and all JavaScript files you want to test. But, wait… why not test using node.js or something like this? Do I really need the browser on this test? You don’t need, but I think it is important to test a plugin that works with the DOM using a real browser. Let’s delete some files and lines from SpecRunner.html file, so we adapt it for our plugin. This is how the structure is going to look like:

.├── SpecRunner.html├── lib│   ├── jasmine-1.0.2│   │   ├── MIT.LICENSE│   │   ├── jasmine-html.js│   │   ├── jasmine.css│   │   └── jasmine.js│   └── jquery-1.6.1.min.js├── spec│   └── ZebrafySpec.js└── src    └── jquery.zebrafy.js

You can create the files jquery.zebrafy.js and ZebrafySpec.js, but remember: it is BDD, we need to describe the behavior first, then write the code. So let’s start writing the specs in ZebrafySpec.js file using Jasmine. If you are familiar with RSpec syntax, it’s easy to understand how to write spec withs Jasmine, if you aren’t, here is the clue: Jasmine is a lib with some functions used for writing tests in an easier way. I’m going to explain each function “on demmand”, when we need something, we learn how to use it! ;)

First of all, we need to start a new test suite. Jasmine provides the describe function for that, this function receives a string and another function (a callback). The string describes the test suite and the function is a callback that delimites the scope of the test suite. Here is the Zebrafy suite:

describe('Zebrafy', function () {


Let’s start describing the behavior we want to get from the plugin. The most basic is: we want different CSS classes for odd an even lines in a table. Jasmine provides the it function for writing the tests. It also receives a string and a callback: the string is a description for the test and the callback is the function executed as test. Here is the very first test:

it('should apply classes zebrafy-odd and zebrafy-even to each other table lines', function () {    var table = $("#zebra-table");    table.zebrafy();    expect(table).toBeZebrafyied();});

Okay, here we go: in the first line of the callback, we are using jQuery to select a table using the #zebra-table selector, which will look up for a table with the ID attribute equals to “zebra-table”, but we don’t have this table in the DOM. What about add a new table to the DOM in a hook executed before the test run and remove the table in another hook that runs after the test? Jasmine provide two functions: beforeEach and afterEach. Both functions receive a callback function to be executed and, as the names suggest, the beforeEach callback is called before each test run, and the afterEach callback is called after the test run. Here are the hooks:

beforeEach(function () {    $('<table id="zebra-table"></table>').appendTo('body');    for (var i=0; i < 10; i++) {        $('<tr></tr>').append('<td></td>').append('<td></td>').append('<td></td>').appendTo('#zebra-table');    };});

afterEach(function () {    $("#zebra-table").remove();});

The beforeEach callback uses jQuery to create a table with 10 rows and 3 columns and add it to the DOM. In afterEach callback, we just remove that table using jQuery again. Okay, now the table exists, let’s go back to the test:

it('should apply classes zebrafy-odd and zebrafy-even to each other table lines', function () {    var table = $("#zebra-table");    table.zebrafy();    expect(table).toBeZebrafyied();});

In the second line, we call our plugin, that is not ready yet, so let’s forward to the next line, where we used the expect function. Jasmine provides this function, that receives an object and executes a matcher against it, there is a lot of built-in matchers on Jasmine, but toBeZebrafyied is not a built-in matcher. Here is where we know another Jasmine feature: the capability to write custom matchers, but how to do this? You can call the beforeEach again, and use the addMatcher method of Jasmine object:

beforeEach(function () {    this.addMatchers({        toBeZebrafyied: function() {            var isZebrafyied = true;

            this.actual.find("tr:even").each(function (index, tr) {                isZebrafyied = $(tr).hasClass('zebrafy-odd') === false && $(tr).hasClass('zebrafy-even');                if (!isZebrafyied) {                    return;                };            });

            this.actual.find("tr:odd").each(function (index, tr) {                isZebrafyied = $(tr).hasClass('zebrafy-odd') && $(tr).hasClass('zebrafy-even') === false;                if (!isZebrafyied) {                    return;                };            });

            return isZebrafyied;        }    });});

The method addMatchers receives an object where each property is a matcher. Your matcher can receive arguments if you want. The object being matched can be accessed using this.actual, so here is what the method above does: it takes all odd <tr> elements of the table (this.actual) and check if them have the CSS class zebrafy-odd and don’t have the CSS class zebrafy-even, then do the same checking with even <tr> lines.

Now that we have wrote the test, it’s time to write the plugin. Here some jQuery code:

(function ($) {    $.fn.zebrafy = function () {        this.find("tr:even").addClass("zebrafy-even");        this.find("tr:odd").addClass("zebrafy-odd");    };})(jQuery);

I’m not going to explain how to implement a jQuery plugin neither what are those brackets on function, this post aims to show how to use Jasmine to test jQuery plugins.

By convention, jQuery plugins are “chainable”, so let’s make sure the zebrafy plugin is chainable using a spec:

it('zebrafy should be chainable', function() {    var table = $("#zebra-table");    table.zebrafy().addClass('black-bg');    expect(table.hasClass('black-bg')).toBeTruthy();});

As you can see, we used the built-in matcher toBeTruthy, which asserts that an object or expression is true. All we need to do is return the jQuery object in the plugin and the test will pass:

(function ($) {    $.fn.zebrafy = function () {        return this.each(function (index, table) {            $(table).find("tr:even").addClass("zebrafy-even");            $(table).find("tr:odd").addClass("zebrafy-odd");        });    };})(jQuery);

So, the plugin is tested and ready to release! :) You can check the entire code and test with more spec in a Github repository.