Overview of Frontend Testing

Types of tests in our codebase

  • RSpec
  • Karma (/spec/javascripts/**/*.js)
  • Spinach

    — These have been removed from our codebase in May 2018. (/features/)

RSpec: Ruby unit tests /spec/**/*.rb

These tests are meant to unit test the ruby models, controllers and helpers.

When do we write/update these tests?

Whenever we create or modify any Ruby models, controllers or helpers we add/update corresponding tests.

RSpec: Full feature tests /spec/features/**/*.rb

Full feature tests will load a full app environment and allow us to test things like rendering DOM, interacting with links and buttons, testing the outcome of those interactions through multiple pages if necessary. These are also called end-to-end tests but should not be confused with QA end-to-end tests (package-and-qa manual pipeline job).

When do we write/update these tests?

When we add a new feature, we write at least two tests covering the success and the failure scenarios.

Relevant notes

A :js flag is added to the test to make sure the full environment is loaded.

scenario 'successfully', :js do

The steps of each test are written using capybara methods (documentation).

Bear in mind XHR calls might require you to use wait_for_requests in between steps, like so:



expect(page).not_to have_selector('.card')

Karma tests /spec/javascripts/**/*.js

These are the more frontend-focused, at the moment. They’re faster than rspec and make for very quick testing of frontend components.

When do we write/update these tests?

When we add/update a method/action/mutation to Vue or Vuex, we write karma tests to ensure the logic we wrote doesn’t break. We should, however, refrain from writing tests that double-test Vue’s internal features.

Relevant notes

Karma tests are run against a virtual DOM.

To populate the DOM, we can use fixtures to fake the generation of HTML instead of having Rails do that.

Be sure to check the best practices for karma tests.

Vue and Vuex

Test as much as possible without double-testing Vue’s internal features, as mentioned above.

Make sure to test computedProperties, mutations, actions. Run the action and test that the proper mutations are committed.

Also check these notes on testing Vue components.

Vuex Helper: testAction

We have a helper available to make testing actions easier, as per official documentation:

  actions.actionName, // action
  { }, // params to be passed to action
  state, // state
    { type: types.MUTATION},
    { type: types.MUTATION_1, payload: {}},
  ], // mutations committed
    { type: 'actionName', payload: {}},
    { type: 'actionName1', payload: {}},
  ] // actions dispatched

Check an example in spec/javascripts/ide/stores/actions_spec.jsspec/javascripts/ide/stores/actions_spec.js.

Vue Helper: mountComponent

To make mounting a Vue component easier and more readable, we have a few helpers available in spec/helpers/vue_mount_component_helper.

  • createComponentWithStore
  • mountComponentWithStore

Examples of usage:

beforeEach(() => {
  vm = createComponentWithStore(Component, store);

  vm.$store.state.currentBranchId = 'master';

beforeEach(() => {
  vm = mountComponentWithStore(Component, {
    el: '#dummy-element',
    props: { badge },

Don’t forget to clean up:

afterEach(() => {

Testing with older browsers

Some regressions only affect a specific browser version. We can install and test in particular browsers with either Firefox or Browserstack using the following steps:


Browserstack allows you to test more than 1200 mobile devices and browsers. You can use it directly through the live app or you can install the chrome extension for easy access. You can find the credentials on 1Password, under frontendteam@gitlab.com.



You can download any older version of Firefox from the releases FTP server, https://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/firefox/releases/

  1. From the website, select a version, in this case 50.0.1.
  2. Go to the mac folder.
  3. Select your preferred language, you will find the dmg package inside, download it.
  4. Drag and drop the application to any other folder but the Applications folder.
  5. Rename the application to something like Firefox_Old.
  6. Move the application to the Applications folder.
  7. Open up a terminal and run /Applications/Firefox_Old.app/Contents/MacOS/firefox-bin -profilemanager to create a new profile specific to that Firefox version.
  8. Once the profile has been created, quit the app, and run it again like normal. You now have a working older Firefox version.