An End-To-End Guide To VueJS Testing

Harish Rajora

Posted On: February 2, 2023

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VueJS-Testing

“When Vue’s user count reached a certain volume, it became a community. Suddenly all these people counted on me: contributors, users, educators, students… It became bigger than I ever thought it could be.” – Evan You.

This is a confession of a developer towards releasing a JS framework in 2014 that today is used by over 1.5 million users. A framework has become significant in website development if we consider how new it is. With developers picking up Vue slowly, the question of VueJS testing becomes all the more interesting to decode among the organization.

The framework is in a place where it is not extremely popular, so each question can be found on community channels and is not so new that it is still in the experimenting stage. When we see large-scale applications built with Vue, we know that the relevance of VueJS testing will only increase with time.

All these facts make this guide an important piece of the puzzle that will ultimately guide you toward releasing a VueJS-based web application to the world.

What is VueJS?

VueJS is a framework for building complex or simple user interfaces. It was released in 2014 and is used by almost 1% of websites today. It is lightweight and built on top of main web components like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

It works with a component-based model-view framework paradigm, which allows the modules to be built as loosely coupled and connected components. This helps break down complex modules into small components that other parts of the application can also reuse.

A small example of VueJS expressing its component-based functionality can be as follows.

HTML code:

Here, we see an important concept of declarative rendering in HTML through the code {{count}}. By declarative rendering, we point out the template rendering part where we can directly render the data using declarative syntax or template syntax, which is double braces as it is in Jinja 2 templating engine also. This is an important property of Vue that comes in handy in quick development and minimizing the code.

The second property is reactivity, reacting to the change in the JavaScript code automatically. The changes are then reflected in the DOM without writing any extra code. However, this is a brief high-level overview of reactivity which needs to be discussed in detail. But since this guide revolves around testing Vue components, let’s keep that discussion for another day.

VueJS component-based system overview

The fundamental idea of a component-based system is to divide bigger things into smaller units and focus on each in isolation. This helps break down a larger problem and focus on details that could be missed if the complete system was taken at once. This can also be seen when we develop simple HTML pages that get divided into a component-based tree:

VueJS component-based system

In Vue, we perform something similar by saving each component into its file with its logic as a .vue extension.

For a minimal example of understanding components in VueJS, let’s create a small web page as follows.

In Vue’s app.js file, we will create a component to demonstrate reusability as follows:

While writing the code, replace the with the name of the component you want to put.

We will put down a simple template to replace the object.

Here, the template part takes the HTML template you want to display when this component is rendered on the screen.

With this small code, we have our component ready to be implemented in the HTML page we wrote at the start. Since this component is referred to by the name ‘vcomp’, let’s insert this inside the div block as follows.

What Vue will do here is it will replace the vcomp tags with the component template described in app.js. As a result, we get a small web page as follows.

 vcomp tags

If we inspect this web page, we can check that the HTML code has been replaced by the template provided in Vue.

HTML code

A simple problem is that the code has become reusable but is not customizable as per our choice. In web development, you may have many elements with the same code. A need that can be satisfied by our above example. However, we can have an even larger number of codes that are not the same but similar. For example, “Hi, I am Harish” and “Hi, I am Jack” are two similar elements with 75% similarity of “Hi, I am”. If we could find a way to put data into this template, we would have a good component with us.

This is accomplished by the data object attached to the Vue component. For now, we have our modified view as:

This denotes the part that will remain the same. A data object is written as:

In the function part, you can write the function to be executed when you want. For our example, you need to return the name to put this as.

Also, notice the additional {{name}} we put in the template where we want the name to be placed when returned.

The last thing we need is to decide when this function should be called and how it should be called. While there are many ways to achieve that, for demonstration, I will take the on:click event attached to a button on the click of which this function can be called.

The modified code then becomes as follows:

The two modified elements to note here are “methods” and “button”. Run this code, and you get a button on the click of which the name “Hi, I am ” changes to “Hi, I am Ashley”.

Unit testing – A general overview

Unit testing is one of the pillars of testing software, the other being integration testing and end to end testing. Generally, software testing starts through unit testing, especially when TDD is facilitated as a development method.

Unit testing breaks the software into smaller units so that it is easier to focus on smaller parts and their details, and debugging becomes a lot easier. This definition may look similar to what we discussed in the definition of components above.

In reality, they both have similar roots, but the goal they serve is different. But since components are also smaller units in a Vue application, the work of a tester performing unit testing becomes a lot easier and targeted towards a specific area. Hence, unit testing in Vue components is a popular talk among Vue testers.

As a note, this should not be confused with “testing a component,” as unit testing works with Vue-based applications. Unit testing still means testing the functionalities or class for expected outputs but for a smaller part of the application.

When we start testing only components of a Vue application, such as how it mounts or renders, we call it component testing in Vue. However, that does not mean unit tests do not cover “just” components. In certain cases, it may, and in a few, it may not.

How to get started with Unit testing in VueJS?

In this section of the VueJS testing guide, we will take unit testing in Vue, which is different from unit testing in web applications. Here, we will only focus on how to perform unit testing on the parts of the applications written in Vue. For learning, you can refer to this guide on web testing crafted just for this purpose.

Taking into consideration how Vue-based features work, we aim to perform unit testing on two types of functions.

  • Composables
  • Components

Therefore, we can divide this section into two logical parts.

How to perform Unit testing in Vue composables?

The concept of composables came into Vue with its version 3 release and is built to eliminate all the Vue 2 weaknesses leading to complex components and mixins. Vue composable refers to those functions that use Vue’s composition API. This API is a solution to components that become too big and hard to maintain over time.

For instance, let’s say we have a component that can list down certain products through search. Sometime later, we need more functionality in this search by applying certain filters. A few days later, we may add another functionality to search. Doing all this, we may make a very big and complex component, which can become extremely hard to maintain.

Instead, we can use composition API, which are reusable functions called from these components and eliminate large options and data. In this example, we can create search(), sort(), filter(), advanceFilter(), etc., and call whenever required from the main component.

Composables can depend on either of the three APIs.

  • Life cycle
  • Inject
  • Reactivity

Among these three, if reactivity is being used as follows:

This can be tested by matching the expected and actual results directly, also called an assertion in testing. Whereas, if lifehooks and inject are being used, the tester needs these elements to “wrap inside host component,” explaining which can deviate us from the actual unit testing part.

How to perform Unit testing in Vue components?

Unit testing in Vue components aims at testing the functionalities offered by the components in the application. While they should target components, they should only confine themselves to the functionality and events relating to these components rather than getting into the correctness of code.

An important point to note in performing unit testing in VueJS is that the private state of a component instance should not be asserted, as it can break with any implementation change. The main focus of unit tests should be verifying the output of a certain functionality or event, or interaction.

Unit testing tools for the VueJS component

While there are a lot of tools and plugins available for performing unit tests on VueJS components, the official website of Vue recommends only two tools:

  • Vitest
  • Cypress

Vitest is a node-based tool while Cypress is a browser-based tool. A node-based tool may not perform as efficiently as a browser-based tool; therefore, in this case, Cypress can be preferred. However, there is a cost associated with it. Since Vitest is a headless tool and is node-based, it can execute tests much faster than Cypress.

As Vue states, “Cypress can be orders of magnitude slower than Vitest,” which can be a matter of concern. Therefore, the tester must work carefully when performing unit testing with VueJS.

To add Vitest to your project, you can directly use npm package manager to add this in a single command.

After this, we need to update the Vite configuration to add the test option block.

After this is done, we can write our tests in a file whose name ends with *.test.js. This file can be placed in a test directory located in the project’s root folder. You can also place this file in test directories next to the source files.

Now that the test cases are written, just add the test script in package.json as follows:

Now run these tests with a simple npm command.

Mounting libraries

Mounting libraries must mount the components so user events can be simulated and unit testing can be invoked with user-like actions. These libraries are provided by Vue and are recommended for use in unit testing for Vue components.

  • @testing-library/vue
  • @vue/test-utils

Among these two, @vue/test-utils is a low-level library on top of which @testing-library/vue is built. So it is evident by this fact that @vue/test-utils dives deeper into the Vue APIs implementation details while @testing-library/vue stays away from it and focuses only on how the software is used by the end-user. For a tester, it completely depends on their choice of which one to prefer as per the situation. A mix and match of both can yield the best results, however.

How to run a unit test in VueJS?

Unit tests in VueJS can be run with the Vue Test Utils library, an official unit testing library of VueJS. It can be used with test runners such as Jest, Mocha, and Karma or without a test runner with jsdom. VueJS recommends using Jest for unit test cases; therefore, we will follow the same pattern here.

To install Vue test utils with jest, run the following two commands.

For installation of cli-plugin-unit-jest to run Jest tests.

To install Vue test utils.

Now, we can do a simple small test on the initial code with which we started this guide on VueJS testing.

Now, we first need to target this button and take a wrapper in return to proceed further. This is achieved through the following code.

Now, find the p tag inside this button.

Then, we need to provide some asynchronous behavior to wait for the click to happen, which can lead us to trigger our code.

Here, as we mentioned, asynchronous behavior is used which is a deep and a topic of great length in Vue. Someone who wishes to learn more about it can refer to the official page on asynchronous behavior in VueJS docs. Running the above test exposes the functionality of the button and the module that contains it.

While performing VueJS testing, many organizations face a tough challenge in building their web and mobile apps for multiple platforms like Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. Developers and QA teams face the major challenge of creating an in-house test infrastructure to cover all browsers, devices, and operating systems, which is a tedious and expensive approach. You will still need to manage operating system updates continuously, which is quite impractical to achieve.

However, cloud-based testing platforms like LambdaTest made this easy.

LambdaTest is a continuous quality cloud platform that helps you perform manual and automated VueJS testing for websites and apps using the cloud infrastructure. You can test your VueJS-based web and mobile apps at scale across 3000+ real browsers, devices, and OS combinations without worrying about the infrastructure needs.

In the next section of this guide, we’ll discuss how to perform VueJS testing using LambdaTest.

How to perform VueJS testing using LambdaTest?

With the LambdaTest platform, you can perform real-time and automated testing of VueJS-based websites and apps on its high-performing device cloud. In this VueJS testing guide, we’ll look at how to perform real-time and automation testing of your VueJS applications.

Real Time VueJS Testing

  1. Sign up for free and login to your LambdaTest account.
  2. From the left-sidebar menu, go to Real Time Testing → Browser Testing.
  3. Real Time VueJS Testing

  4. Enter the website URL, select the test type – Desktop/ Mobile, and choose the RESOLUTION, OS, and browser VERSION. Then press START.
  5. select the test type

It will redirect you to a remote environment where you can test VueJS websites on real browsers running operating systems.

VueJS websites

Now let’s see how to perform automated VueJS testing.

With LambdaTest cloud, you can run automation tests of your VueJS website at scale with test automation frameworks like Selenium, Cypress, Playwright, and more.

Here are the steps to automate VueJS testing on the LambdaTest platform.

  1. Sign in to your LambdaTest account.
  2. Navigate to the Automation tab and then Builds.
  3. LambdaTest platform

  4. Select your preferred programming language and testing framework, and you can start testing.
  5. preferred programming language and testing framework

Subscribe to LambdaTest YouTube Channel, and check out the latest tutorials around Selenium automation testing, Cypress testing, real-time testing, and more.

Mount vs shallowMount in Vue

While performing unit testing in Vue through vue test utils, you will often come across mount() and shallowMount() in examples or reading other’s unit test codes. These two methods will be used by a tester to create unit tests in Vue.

  • The mount() function in Vue takes the Vue component as an argument and returns a wrapper for that component. With this instance wrapper, the tester can interact with the component as it will catch the DOM and render it for you.
  • The shallowMount() function also works similarly and helps interact with the component passed. The only difference between them is that shallowMount() does not render the child components. Whereas mount() will render both passed components and all its children.

Due to this, they both are preferred in different scenarios and use cases. The most important one is that when you need to test any component in isolation and need to test the effect of changes on children, shallowMount is to be used. Otherwise, if children are involved, then you should go for mount(). This will keep your unit test cases in isolation and provide clarity about what they are aimed at.

Conclusion

Vue is a framework that is seeing substantial growth in the user interface market in website development. With its component-based mechanism, which is similar to React, Vue tries to break down heavy modules into smaller components that not only help in development but also in testing.

This guide on VueJS testing discussed the testing part of a website that contains Vue-based elements focusing specifically on unit tests. Vue has rich API collections that help in the unit testing of components, a demonstration of which was discussed in this guide.

For web developers and testers, I hope this guide is a good reference for your next unit testing project. For any feedback and suggestions, let us know in the comment section or through email. Thank you for giving this post your valuable time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Vue testing?

Vue testing is the technique to validate VueJS-based web and mobile applications to ensure it performs as expected when rendered across different browsers, devices and operating systems combinations.

Which test framework is best for VueJS?

Jest is considered one of the popular frameworks for automated VueJS testing. However, you need to use a Vue Test Utils package to import Vue components, and then you can use Jest to perform VueJS testing.

What is Vue used for?

Vue is a JavaScript framework for creating user interfaces. It is built on top of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and provides a declarative and component-based programming model to develop user interfaces efficiently.

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Harish Rajora

I am a computer science engineer. I love to keep growing as the technological world grows. I feel there is no powerful tool than a computer to change the world in any way. Apart from my field of study, I like reading books a lot and write sometimes on https://www.themeaninglesslife.com .

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