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Jun 6, 2008 - 4 minute read - Agile Evil Tester

Test Driven JavaScript using QUnit

I have a little project that I started writing in OpenLaszlo. I chose OpenLaszlo because I thought I could script it in standard JavaScript but during the development of my minor app I found a few errors with the OpenLaszlo JavaScript implementation and the project stalled. Now, having started a new job, where the development team use splendid new technologies like QUnit, and JQuery, I resurrected my app.

So I present, to you, some notes on my experience of Test Driven JavaScript using QUnit.

I class myself as a real novice with JavaScript. My best JavaScript app yet has major issues with Internet Explorer and so I guess I should really class myself as pretty rubbish at JavaScript… however I remain undeterred and convinced I can learn this stuff.

Fortunately the development team gave me a quick demo of QUnit at work so I understood a little about the technology, and no better teacher than experience can help me understand, so time to dabble.

As a novice, I followed the instructions on the QUnit site and created a basic test page (called test_eprime.htm).

<script src="jquery-latest.js"></script>
<link media="screen" href="testsuite.css" type="text/css" rel="stylesheet">
<script src="testrunner.js"></script>



<h1>E-Prime JavaScript Tests</h1>
<h2 id="banner"></h2>
<h2 id="userAgent"></h2>
<ol id="tests"></ol>
<div id="main"></div>

And when viewed in a browser this gives me the joyous news that I have 0 tests of 0 failed.

Woo Hoo!

In order to support this my code folder has:

So now I’ll create my first test. I do this by adding all my tests between the magic lines in the above test frame work html


// **** I add all my code in here ****


QUnit has the concept of modules which ‘chunk’ tests together. So I create an html formatting module, for all my HTML formatting tests.

module("HTML Formatting");

And then I’ll write my first test…

test("html char conversion", function(){

I added a new ‘test’ to the set of tests. The test had the name “html char conversion”. I created the code of the test as an unnamed function. The purpose of the test? To check the function convertToHTMLIfRequired function returns &gt; when called with the parameter >

So now I save my test_eprime.htm file and reload it into FireFox.

And voila…

…my test failed. Hopefully as you expected, after all I didn’t write any code.

So off I go to my trusty text editor and create a new file called eprime.js which looks like this

 function convertToHTMLIfRequired(c){
   return '&gt;';

Run the tests again by refreshing the page in the browser. And…

Wha! Oh, I forgot to include eprime.js into my test_eprime.htm, OK, easy fix.

 <script src="testrunner.js"></script>
 <script src="eprime.js"></script>

Refresh to run the tests.


Alright! High Five! Watch as I do my “successful test passing” dance.

And so we move on.

Back into the tests and make that a little more robust…

test("html char conversion", function(){

Refresh the browser and my tests fail. As we would hope.

Eagle eyed readers will note that I got the ‘expected’ and ‘actual’ parameters the wrong way around. I should have used the format…


I could blame my error on the QUnit front page which shows the following example code…

equals( "hello", value, "We expect value to be hello" );

But I’d feel petty and, since I didn’t read the manual_, I take the blame._

So I go away and add more code, like a good TDD practitioner.

function convertToHTMLIfRequired(c){
   return '&lt;';

   return '&gt;';

Refresh the browser…

Woo hoo! Cue “Successful test passing” dance… and so on, and so on…

I then follow this with more TDD iterations, which worked out rather well. But so as not to bore you, I shall conclude.


The eagle eyed among you will have said “Why does it keep saying 0 tests of 0 failed, even when 1 failed?” and the answer I respond with reads “I don’t know, I haven’t read the manual yet”.

And despite the “0 tests of 0 failed”, I like:

  • this unit test harness,
    • how easy I found writing JavaScript using TDD with QUnit,
      • TDD JavaScript,
  • the fact that my IDE consists of a free text editor notepad++, and a free Browser,
    • the fact that I haven’t had to read the manual yet, and have managed to make a lot of progress,
      • that I can keep running my tests easily,
  • by loading my test page into different browers I can check for browser compatibility

I will now go off and finish my little e-prime application in ‘proper’ JavaScript, using TDD and shall forget about OpenLaszlo for the moment. (I’ll write up the reasons for this on CompendiumDev at some point).

More TDD JavaScript posts coming soon. Will I ever get rid of “0 tests of 0 failed”? … stay tuned thrill seekers.


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