I recently made a simple ideas board web app using ReactJS, Ruby-on-Rails and PostgreSQL. Below, I’ll walk you through the initial steps I took to set up basic unit tests for one of the features of my app, adding a new idea.

Photo by Dan DeAlmeida on Unsplash

Note: I’m not going to discuss the scope of tests in this post; rather, my focus is on understanding how to install some of the dependencies in order to be able to get started with writing the tests.

Background: ideas board set up

I used Node package manager to manage my project’s dependencies. If you’d like to code along, you’ll need to make sure you have Node installed on your computer.

Project features

In Rails

Models: Idea

Relationships: none

In React

Components: Navbar, IdeasContainer, Idea

Getting started with RSpec

I used RSpec to test the Rails part of my ideas board web app. To get started:

  1. I added the gem ‘rspec-rails’, ‘~> 3.8’ to my gemfile.
  2. I then ran bundle in my terminal window (making sure I was in the Rails directory).

3. Next, in my Rails directory, I created a new folder called spec. And then, another new folder inside that one called requests.

4. I created a new file called ideas_spec.rb. You can replace the name ideas_spec with the name of whichever model you want to test, making sure to include the _spec part to denote that it's a test file.

5. At the top of my ideas_spec.rb file, I added the following text:

require ‘rails_helper’

6. Then, in the same file, I included code describing the first test I wanted to run:

describe “add an idea”, :type => :request dodescribe “add an idea”, :type => :request do
before do
 post ‘/api/v1/ideas’
it ‘returns a created status’ do
  expect(response).to have_http_status(201)

7. To run my test, I typed rspec in my terminal window, making sure I was in my rails project directory.

If you’ve been following along, RSpec should run at this point and your first test should pass!

Getting started with Jest

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the testing framework Jest is included with create-react-app! However, I also wanted to use Enzyme, a testing utility, for which I needed to install some dependencies.

  1. To start off, I created a new folder called _tests_ in my app’s src directory.
  2. In my client-side directory, I ran the following commands:
npm i -D react-test-renderer
npm install --save-dev jest-enzyme
npm install --save-dev enzyme enzyme-adapter-react-16

3. To configure Enzyme, I created a file in src called setupTests.js and included the following:

const Enzyme = require('enzyme');
const EnzymeAdapter = require('enzyme-adapter-react-16');
Enzyme.configure({ adapter: new EnzymeAdapter() });

4. Inside my _tests_ folder, I created a new file, called App.tests.js

5. I included the following text at the top of this file to import my components and all the testing functionality I wanted for all my tests:

import React from 'react';
import App from '../App';
import Idea from '../components/Idea';
import IdeasContainer from '../components/IdeasContainer';
import { create, update } from 'react-test-renderer';
import '../setupTests';
import { shallow, mount, render } from 'enzyme';
import { shallowToJson } from 'enzyme-to-json';

6. Underneath, I included my first unit test:

describe('Idea', () => {
  it('should render a new idea correctly', () => {
    const output = shallow(
      idea={"1", "Test", "Test"}

7. I ran rails s in the server side directory and then npm start in the client side directory to start my ideas board on localhost:3001.

8. To run my first test, I typed the following into my terminal window (making sure I was in the client directory):

npm run test

If you’ve been following along, Jest should run at this point, your test should pass — and you’re in a great place now to write more tests!

For more information on the ideas board project, my repo can be found here.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading! I hope my post helped you get started with setting up your tests.