Complete Nightwatch JS Testing Tutorial

Rahul Rana

Posted On: June 29, 2020

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Read time6 Min Read

There are few javascript testing frameworks makes test automation as easy as running Nightwatch JS testing.

With massive competition in the market, every company wants to employ a faster go-to-market strategy. This puts a lot of pressure on both the development and testing teams. As not only the development cycle has to be faster, but you also need to make sure that testing efforts keep up so that the end product is of high quality. Also, as the product grows, it becomes more intricate, and the chance of outage in the code increases.

This requires consistent testing efforts and running some of the test cases repeatedly. It can become quite hectic and costly, as often companies have limited resources, and they can’t afford to put them all in testing. To tackle this issue, many organizations are using test automation, to automate the testing process.

A lot of agile organizations are now employing automation testing right from the beginning of their development process. Be it unit or end to end testing, they are doing everything they can to shorten the test cycle. As well as to catch potential bugs at an earlier level without repetitive testing and make development more swift.

In this Nightwatch JS tutorial, I will give you an overview of Nightwatch.js for Selenium testing. So, let’s get started!!

What is Nightwatch JS automation Testing?

Nightwatch JS is an open-source, node.js powered, automated browser testing framework. It was developed in Amsterdam & derives its name from the famous painting ‘The Night Watch’ by Dutch 17th century artist Rembrandt van Rijn.

Nightwatch.js facilitates end-to-end testing of web applications and websites, by utilizing W3C Webdriver API (also known as Selenium Webdriver) as Selenium wrapper for interacting with different browsers. It helps in making the implementation of CI/CD much easier. At the same time, it can be used to perform Selenium test automation for both unit and integration tests. This popular automated browser testing framework provides several commands and assertions to perform interactions with web elements.

It is, at times referred to as a Selenium Binding library only, which is entirely true as it is mostly used together with Selenium Server. But while implementing, the tester must remember that Nightwatch.js in itself, is complete as it contains a built-in CLI test runner, an extendible command and assertion library, and support for page object model.

How Nightwatch JS Testing Works?

Nightwatch JS works by communicating with WebDrivers of different browsers, like ChromeDriver for Chrome or GeckoDriver for Firefox. It does this communication over a restful HTTP api utilizing the HTTP protocol defined by W3C WebDriver API and derived from JSONWire protocol.


Nightwatch JS sends two requests to the WebDriver server in order to perform any browser interaction. It can be a command, an assertion or even an action on page objects of the web application.

  • First is to request the Selenium server to create a session with the browser and locate the desired element using the CSS or XPath selector of the object, on which action is to be performed.
  • Second request to perform the action on the fetched web element from the previous request.

All major browsers have a categorical WebDriver implementation, called a driver, which Nightwatch JS uses behind the scenes to communicate with the browser.

nightwatch tutorial

In this Nightwatch JS testing tutorial, so far I have explored what Nightwatch JS testing is and how it works. Now, I’ll explain some important reasons for its popularity. The advantages it provides so that while utilizing it one can make the best of the offerings that come with this Selenium test automation framework.

  • In-Built Test Runner – Inbuilt command-line test runner for Selenium test automation execution with retries and implicit waits along with Grunt support.
  • Improved Test Execution – Effective test case execution in many ways – parallel testing, sequential, or in groups or using tags.
  • Clean Syntax – Simple yet powerful syntax helps the tester to write more efficient and effective test cases quickly using Javascript and CSS or XPath for web element selectors.
  • Data Integrity – Being a complete testing framework in its own, it reduces dependencies on any third-party software and hence improves data integrity.
  • Selenium WebDriver Server – Ability to manage Selenium or various WebDriver (ChromeDriver, GeckoDriver etc) servers in a dedicated child process.
  • Continuous Integration – Can be integrated with continuous build process systems like Jenkins and provides inbuilt Junit XML reporting which can assist in building and testing software continuously.
  • Support for cloud services – Provides the ability to integrate with cloud-based testing platforms like LambdaTest and support for Cross Browser testing with JS and Selenium.
  • Page Object Model – Easy to use with Page object models by supporting CSS and XPath locators making browser automation more manageable.
  • Easy to scale – Provides ease of scalability as per application under test by means of custom assertions and commands.

Drawbacks Of Using Nightwatch JS for Testing?

Having perceived the reasons for tremendous popularity and all the benefits of using this automated browser testing framework, it’s hard to think of any bottlenecks associated with it. But there are a couple of drawbacks which I’ll explore in this Nightwatch JS testing tutorial you should look out for.

  • Limited framework choices for writing unit test cases, since it comes with its own testing framework and assertion library.
  • Lesser community support in comparison to its counterparts WebdriverIO and Protractor.

Also Read: Nightwatch JS Testing Tutorial For Automation Testing (With Examples)

Wrapping It Up!

In this Nightwatch JS Testing tutorial, I covered the basics for the automated browser testing framework. By now you are aware of what nightwatch JS is, and how it helps us with Selenium test automation. Further, I explored the features of Nightwatch JS which makes it really popular along with a couple of its drawbacks you need to look out for!

I hope you found this Nightwatch.js testing tutorial informative, in case of any doubts or questions, do reach out to us in the comment section down below. Help us reach out to your peers by sharing this article with them on Twitter and LinkedIn or any other social media platform they use. That’s all for now. Happy Testing!!!?

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Rahul Rana

Rahul works as a Product Marketer at LambdaTest. With his rich experience in the startup world, he wants to help startups reach new heights. An avid tech blogger, he also loves to dabble in music.

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