This article is for versions of Angular 2, Angular 4, Angular 5 and later.

Early Draft Post

End to end testing (E2E) or also known as integration testing is a great way to make sure at a high-level overview that our applications function correctly. Commonly we use E2E tests to help ensure our components are working correctly together to create an entirely functioning feature cohesively. E2E tests are not Unit tests. Unit tests should test a small isolated piece of code while the E2E test is a high-level test of a feature or several interactions. E2E tests are also ideal for making sure critical line of business features such as checkouts and sign-ups are well tested. I won’t dig into all the details of Unit tests vs. E2E tests but focus on how integration and E2E tests work in Angular.

We will use the Angular Pokédex app for our example. The NG-Pokédex app allows users to view and search Pokemon characters. For our app, we would want to make sure this core feature works every time we go to deploy our app. This is where an automated E2E test will be invaluable. Our E2E tests can open our app in the browser and interact with our app to make sure the feature works correctly.

In our Pokédex app, the user can open a modal to see details about specific Pokémon and then use the arrow keys to navigate between Pokémon. We would like to write an E2E test to make sure this functionality works in our application. Let’s take a look at a running E2E test that tests this feature.

This short video clip shows an Angular E2E test automatically opening a browser and running through our tests to make sure our application is behaving correctly. I slowed down the tests slightly, so it is visible that our tests are interacting with the browser.

Angular CLI and Protractor

The NG-Pokédex app is an Angular CLI app. The Angular CLI gives us all the functionality we need for scaffolding, building and testing our Angular applications. This scaffolding the Angular CLI provides includes unit tests and the setup needed for our E2E tests.

Our E2E tests are powered by a testing library called Protractor. Protractor is an E2E test runner that can take scenario tests and run them in the browser for us like in the video above. The test code itself is written using Jasmine. Jasmine is a testing library the provides all the assertion and utility functions needed to write unit and E2E tests. Let’s take a look at a simple example of an E2E test.

In our Angular CLI project we have a folder named e2e. This is where our e2e tests are kept. In the Angular Pokédex app repo, we have a few tests already created. Let’s take a look at the first one. There are two parts to writing an E2E test with Protractor. First, is our Page Object Class located in the app.po.ts file.



// app.po.ts
import { browser, element, by } from 'protractor';

export class NgPokedexPage {
  navigateTo() {
    // Navigate to the home page of the app
    return browser.get('/');
  }

  getHeadingText() {
    // Get the home page heading element reference
    return element(by.css('app-root h1')).getText();
  }
}


Our Page Object Class is a Class that describes a high-level page view. This one is our Page Object describing our home page. The Page Object Class has all of the logic to find the elements on our page and how to navigate to the URL. This Page Object finds our home page heading. We use the Protractor by.css() function to select elements on the page. There are many ways to select elements, but for now, we will just use the by.css(). Next, let’s take a look at the actual E2E test in the app.e2e-spec.ts file.



// app.e2e-spec.ts
import { NgPokedexPage } from './app.po';

describe('ng-pokedex App', function() {
  let page: NgPokedexPage;

  beforeEach(() => {
    page = new NgPokedexPage();
  });

  it('should display heading saying NG-Pokédex', () => {
    page.navigateTo();
    expect(page.getHeadingText()).toEqual('NG-Pokédex');
  });
});


Our E2E test is using Jasmine. We first describe our E2E test. Then we import our Page Object class to use and create a new NgPokedexPage instance in the beforeEach function. This will create a new isolated test page for each E2E test. With Jasmine we give a description of the test with the it() function. The it function takes a function to execute and runs an expectation to make sure the test passes. In our test, we run page.navigateTo(); to browse to our home page.

The first test we run expect(page.getHeadingText()).toEqual('NG-Pokédex');. This line is our expectation. We expect the heading for the home page to say NG-Pokédex. To run our tests, we run the following command in our Angular CLI project: ng run e2e. This will trigger Protractor to open the browser to start our app and run our tests.

While this is an overly simple example, it touches the most basic E2E test. The Angular CLI provides an example test when a CLI project is created. Now let’s write a more complex example as we saw in our video clip above.

Page Object

In the next test in the NG-Pokédex app, we will check that the modal component correctly opens and the user can navigate between Pokémon with the arrow keys. First, we need to create our Page Object for our Pokémon list page.



// pokemon.po.ts
import { browser, element, by, Key } from 'protractor';

export class PokemonPage {
  navigateTo() {
    return browser.get('/pokemon');
  }

  getPokemonCardElements() {
    return element.all(by.css('.card--media'));
  }

  getFirstPokemonCardElement() {
    return element(by.css('.card--media'));
  }

  getOpenModalElement() {
    return element(by.tagName('app-pokemon-modal'));
  }

  getOpenModalHeadingElement() {
    return element(by.css('app-pokemon-modal h1'));
  }

  selectNextKey() {
    browser.actions().sendKeys(Key.ARROW_RIGHT).perform();
  }

  selectPrevKey() {
    browser.actions().sendKeys(Key.ARROW_LEFT).perform();
  }

  selectEscapeKey() {
    browser.actions().sendKeys(Key.ESCAPE).perform();
  }
}


In our Page Object, we have a few new methods and Protractor selectors to help test our page. First, we have the navigateTo() method to browse to the /pokemon URL. We use the element.all(by.css('.card--media')); to get a list of elements by the CSS selector .card--media. This CSS class is the class used on our Pokémon cards. We also have element(by.tagName('app-pokemon-modal')); to select and return a single element by the tag name of that element. In Angular, this would commonly be the component selector.

Last we have a few methods to trigger key events in the browser for the test. For example: browser.actions().sendKeys(Key.ARROW_RIGHT).perform(); allows us to use Protractor utility methods and trigger key events in the browser during our tests. Now that we have our Page Object to get all the elements and interact with our page we can write our E2E test for our scenario.

E2E Test

In our E2E scenario, we want to test that the user can navigate and view Pokémon on the page.



// pokemon.e2e-spec.ts
import { PokemonPage } from './pokemon.po';
import { browser } from 'protractor';

describe('ng-pokedex pokemon view', function () {
  let page: PokemonPage;

  beforeEach(() => {
    page = new PokemonPage();
  });

  it('should display a list of pokemon', () => {
    page.navigateTo();
    expect(page.getPokemonCardElements().count()).toBe(151);
  });

  it('should open and view a particular pokemon', () => {
    page.navigateTo();
    page.getFirstPokemonCardElement().click();

    expect(page.getOpenModalElement()).toBeTruthy();
    expect(page.getOpenModalHeadingElement().getText()).toBe('Bulbasaur #1');
  });

  it('should open and allow arrow keys to navigate between pokemon', () => {
    page.navigateTo();
    page.getFirstPokemonCardElement().click();

    page.selectNextKey();
    expect(page.getOpenModalHeadingElement().getText()).toBe('Ivysaur #2');

    page.selectPrevKey();
    page.selectPrevKey();
    expect(page.getOpenModalHeadingElement().getText()).toBe('Mew #151');
  });
});


The first test we get the list of elements and count to make sure all 151 Pokémon are rendered.



it('should display a list of pokemon', () => {
  page.navigateTo();
  expect(page.getPokemonCardElements().count()).toBe(151);
});


The following test we can call our Page Object to get references to the elements on the page. Once we have the elements, we can trigger click events and arrow key events.



it('should open and allow arrow keys to navigate between pokemon', () => {
  // Open the modal
  page.navigateTo();
  page.getFirstPokemonCardElement().click();

  // Trigger the right arrow, check to make sure the view updated with a different Pokédex
  page.selectNextKey();
  expect(page.getOpenModalHeadingElement().getText()).toBe('Ivysaur #2');

  // Trigger the left arrow twice
  page.selectPrevKey();
  page.selectPrevKey();

  // Check to make sure the view updated with a different Pokédex
  expect(page.getOpenModalHeadingElement().getText()).toBe('Mew #151');
});


In this test, we click the first Pokémon card opening the modal component. Once opened we trigger arrow key events and check that the view updates with different Pokémon by checking the heading value. Our result is once again this:

Angular + Protractor Gotchas

Protractor makes E2E and integration tests easy for Angular apps. Protractor knows when to run and check the DOM after Angular has done rendering the page. Although Protractor was designed primarily for Angular, there are a few gotchas for Angular.

In earlier version of Angular (1.x) you could check for elements by binding and model values on a Angular controller like the following:



// Find an element with a certain ng-model.
by.model('name')

// Find an element bound to the given variable.
by.binding('bindingname')


Unfortunately as of this writing Protractor has not updated to support these types of selectors for versions of Angular 2 and later. For now we must use sectors like by.css() and by.tagName(). While this isn’t that inconvenient, it does tie our E2E tests more to our HTML structure which makes our tests more likely to break if the HTML changes.

Summary

In summary E2E tests with Protractor, Jasmine and the Angular CLI its easier to set up now more than ever. The CLI does a lot of the heavy lifting in our applications. I highly recommend reading Carmen Popoviciu’s fantastic Protractor Style Guide to dive more into writing clean Protractor tests. Be sure to check out the demo project below for the E2E source code.

Demo