Unit Testing Vue Components

Base Example

Unit testing is a fundamental part of software development. Unit tests execute the smallest units of code in isolation, in order to increase ease of adding new features and track down bugs. Vue’s single-file components make it straight forward to write unit tests for components in isolation. This lets you develop new features with confidence you are not breaking existing ones, and helps other developers understand what your component does.

This simple example tests whether some text is rendered:

<template>
<div>
<input v-model="username">
<div
v-if="error"
class="error"
>
{{ error }}
</div>
</div>
</template>

<script>
export default {
name: 'Hello',
data () {
return {
username: ''
}
},

computed: {
error () {
return this.username.trim().length < 7
? 'Please enter a longer username'
: ''
}
}
}
</script>
import { shallowMount } from '@vue/test-utils'

test('Foo', () => {
// render the component
const wrapper = shallowMount(Hello)

// should not allow for `username` less than 7 characters, excludes whitespace
wrapper.setData({ username: ' '.repeat(7) })

// assert the error is rendered
expect(wrapper.find('.error').exists()).toBe(true)

// update the name to be long enough
wrapper.setData({
username: 'Lachlan'
})

// assert the error has gone away
expect(wrapper.find('.error').exists()).toBe(false)
})

The above code snippet shows how to test whether an error message is rendered based on the length of the username. It demonstrates the general idea of unit testing Vue components: render the component, and assert that the markup matches the state of the component.

Why test?

Component unit tests have lots of benefits:

Automated testing allows large teams of developers to maintain complex codebases.

Getting started

Vue Test Utils is the official library for unit testing Vue components. The vue-cli webpack template comes with either Karma or Jest, both well supported test runners, and there are some guides in the Vue Test Utils documentation.

Real-World Example

Unit tests should be:

Let’s continue building on the previous example, while introducing the idea of a factory function to make our test more compact and readable. The component should:

Let’s take a look at the component code first:

<template>
<div>
<div class="message">
{{ message }}
</div>
Enter your username: <input v-model="username">
<div
v-if="error"
class="error"
>
Please enter a username with at least seven letters.
</div>
</div>
</template>

<script>
export default {
name: 'Foo',

data () {
return {
message: 'Welcome to the Vue.js cookbook',
username: ''
}
},

computed: {
error () {
return this.username.trim().length < 7
}
}
}
</script>

The things that we should test are:

And our first attempt at test:

import { shallowMount } from '@vue/test-utils'

describe('Foo', () => {
it('renders a message and responds correctly to user input', () => {
const wrapper = shallowMount(Foo, {
data: {
message: 'Hello World',
username: ''
}
})

// see if the message renders
expect(wrapper.find('.message').text()).toEqual('Hello World')

// assert the error is rendered
expect(wrapper.find('.error').exists()).toBeTruthy()

// update the `username` and assert error is no longer rendered
wrapper.setData({ username: 'Lachlan' })
expect(wrapper.find('.error').exists()).toBeFalsy()
})
})

There are some problems with the above:

The below example improves the test by:

Updated test:

import { shallowMount } from '@vue/test-utils'
import Foo from './Foo'

const factory = (values = {}) => {
return shallowMount(Foo, {
data: { ...values }
})
}

describe('Foo', () => {
it('renders a welcome message', () => {
const wrapper = factory()

expect(wrapper.find('.message').text()).toEqual("Welcome to the Vue.js cookbook")
})

it('renders an error when username is less than 7 characters', () => {
const wrapper = factory({ username: '' })

expect(wrapper.find('.error').exists()).toBeTruthy()
})

it('renders an error when username is whitespace', () => {
const wrapper = factory({ username: ' '.repeat(7) })

expect(wrapper.find('.error').exists()).toBeTruthy()
})

it('does not render an error when username is 7 characters or more', () => {
const wrapper = factory({ username: 'Lachlan' })

expect(wrapper.find('.error').exists()).toBeFalsy()
})
})

Points to note:

At the top, we declare the factory function which merges the values object into data and returns a new wrapper instance. This way, we don’t need to duplicate const wrapper = shallowMount(Foo) in every test. Another great benefit to this is when more complex components with a method or computed property you might want to mock or stub in every test, you only need to declare it once.

Additional Context

The above test is fairly simple, but in practice Vue components often have other behaviors you want to test, such as:

There are more complete examples showing such tests in the Vue Test Utils guides.

Vue Test Utils and the enormous JavaScript ecosystem provides plenty of tooling to facilitate almost 100% test coverage. Unit tests are only one part of the testing pyramid, though. Some other types of tests include e2e (end to end) tests, and snapshot tests. Unit tests are the smallest and most simple of tests - they make assertions on the smallest units of work, isolating each part of a single component.

Snapshot tests save the markup of your Vue component, and compare to the new one generated each time the test runs. If something changes, the developer is notified, and can decide if the change was intentional (the component was updated) or accidental (the component is behaving incorrectly).

End to end tests ensure a number of components interact well together. They are more high level. Some examples might be testing if a user can sign up, log in, and update their username. These are slower to run than unit tests or snapshot tests.

Unit tests are most useful during development, either to help a developer think about how to design a component, or refactor an existing component, and are often run every time code is changed.

Higher level tests, such as end to end tests, run much slower. These usually run pre-deploy, to ensure each part of the system is working together correctly.

More information about testing Vue components can be found in Testing Vue.js Applications by core team member Edd Yerburgh.

When To Avoid This Pattern

Unit testing is an important part of any serious application. At first, when the vision of an application is not clear, unit testing might slow down development, but once a vision is established and real users will be interacting with the application, unit tests (and other types of automated tests) are absolutely essential to ensure the codebase is maintainable and scalable.