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Dev: Testing with jshint, jasmine and grunt

01 May 2014

I decided it was time I learnt a bit about javascript testing and look into a few of the tools I’d heard of but didn’t know anything about. E.g. node, grunt, jasmine, travis & jshint. Actually, I already knew a bit about jshint, since I currently use it to check syntax of javascript files via my editor, Sublime Text 2.

But to actually test the javascript code itself I wanted to experiment with a js testing framework and Jasmine seems to be one that gets mentioned a lot. Since the OME team are already using Travis to test Java, Python and other code committed to github, I thought I’d try to get Travis to run my javascript tests.

Node, Grunt and jshint

A quick google found this blog post which was kinda concise but seemed to cover what I wanted. I started by installing Node.js and the package manager npm using the handy ‘install’ button at

Now I could use the command line to install grunt, and the grunt command-line tool as described at

$ npm install grunt
$ sudo npm install -g grunt-cli     # N.B. needs sudo permissions

Continuing with the same guide, I created a package.json file for /figure/

$ cd figure/
$ npm init

Then I installed local copies of grunt and jshint, which are automatically registered in the package.json we just created.

$ npm install grunt --save-dev
$ npm install grunt-contrib-jshint --save-dev

Now I created a Gruntfile.js and used the Gruntfile.js linked from the original blog post as a template. Since I wasn’t ready to run any Jasmine tests just yet, I commented out the Jasmine parts of the Gruntfile.js and updated the paths to files that I wanted jshint to parse.

A first run of

$ grunt test

revealed that I was missing a .jshintrc file under figure/ so I also grabbed this from and will update if needed later.

Now I find that grunt test of jshint worked and found 3 errors

ls25107:figure wmoore$ grunt test
Running "jshint:all" (jshint) task

136 |            });
                  ^ Don't make functions within a loop.
147 |        if (_.size(redo_attrs) == 0) {
                                    ^ Use '===' to compare with '0'.
163 |                if (i == 0) {
                           ^ Use '===' to compare with '0'.

>> 3 errors in 7 files
Warning: Task "jshint:all" failed. Use --force to continue.

Aborted due to warnings.

Now to set up travis, I added the simple .travis.yml file from the blog above. Then followed instructions at

$ gem install travis-lint
$ travis-lint
Hooray, /Users/wmoore/Desktop/figure/figure/.travis.yml seems to be solid!

I committed all the above changes to a new branch, pushed to github and opened a new PR: I found that the Travis build failed due to version numbers in the package.json file. After these were fixed, the build ran jshint correctly and failed as above. With those errors fixed and pushed, the build now passes. Yey!


Now to get started with Jasmine testing. I began by installing the jasmine module for grunt:

$ npm install grunt-contrib-jasmine

Done. Phantomjs binary available at /Users/wmoore/Desktop/figure/figure/node_modules/grunt-contrib-jasmine/node_modules/grunt-lib-phantomjs/node_modules/phantomjs/lib/phantom/bin/phantomjs
grunt-contrib-jasmine@0.6.4 node_modules/grunt-contrib-jasmine
├── es5-shim@2.3.0
├── lodash@2.4.1
├── rimraf@2.1.4 (graceful-fs@1.2.3)
├── chalk@0.4.0 (has-color@0.1.7, ansi-styles@1.0.0, strip-ansi@0.1.1)
└── grunt-lib-phantomjs@0.4.0 (eventemitter2@0.4.13, semver@1.0.14, temporary@0.0.8, phantomjs@1.9.7-5)

Then I created my first jasmine spec file ‘PanelSpec.js’ under a new /spec directory. Initially I created a test that would fail so I could see this locally and on the travis build after pushing.

Now I returned to the /Gruntfile.js that we edited above and uncommented the jasmine lines, pointing the src list to various js files. On first running ‘$ grunt test’ I found that I don’t have a local copy of jQuery, since the OMERO.figure app simply loads the copy of jQuery provided by webgateway. With this added, I also found that I couldn’t simply add ‘static/figure/3rdparty/*.js’ to my src list because various libs here had dependencies on each other and had to be loaded in a particular order.

After adding jquery, underscore and backbone, in that order, I was still getting warnings on running the test locally, but the test seemed to work and get the expected error.

ls25107:figure wmoore$ grunt test
Running "jshint:all" (jshint) task
>> 7 files lint free.

Running "jasmine:src" (jasmine) task
Testing jasmine specs via PhantomJS

>> TypeError: 'null' is not an object (evaluating 'text
>>       .replace') at
>> static/figure/3rdparty/underscore.js:960 
>> static/figure/js/figure.js:1433 
   X should have default zoom of 100%
     Expected 100 to be 0. (1)

1 spec in 0.004s.
>> 1 failures
Warning: Task "jasmine:src" failed. Use --force to continue.

Aborted due to warnings.

At this point I pushed to github to see if I got the same result via Travis, but had forgotton to use the ‘–save-dev’ flag when doing npm install of jasmine. After manually updating package.json I pushed again and this time got the failing test on Travis as expected.

Finally I fixed the failing test and now Travis passes. At this point the PR is good to merge!

Now I just have to learn Jasmine testing, so I have started to read this book: Jasmine Javascript Testing and will hopefully have a good suite of Jasmine tests soon!