Javascript async testing tutorial: Jasmine + Rails 3.1 + Coffeescript

I recently wanted to create automated testing for coffeescript code in Rails 3.1, including some async (ajax) code. I had to dig around quite a lot, so I’m writing here what I ended up doing for future reference for myself and others who might need it.

There are many test frameworks for javascript, and the one I chose is Jasmine. Reason why: It is one of the two most used frameworks, and the other one is dependent on jQuery. I’m using jQuery in this project, but I’ll be able to use Jasmine for future projects without jQuery too, so I chose it – I also like its syntax.

You can integrate Jasmin in Rails 3.1 yourself just using the Jasmine gem, but to simplify things with Coffeescript I decided to use a specific gem for the latest version of Rails and its assets pipeline. I couldn’t really choose between test_track and jasminerice, which are both very young, so I went with the first one just based on intuition. Using the other one shouldn’t be very different.

So, I added to my gemfile:

gem "jasmine"

gem "test_track"

and installed the new gems with “bundle”

I then created a spec/javascripts and spec/javascripts/helpers folder in the project tree. As I wanted to be able to easily test jQuery, I downloaded jasmine-jquery.js from github and copied it into spec/javascripts/helpers.

At this point I created the following jasmine.js file om spec/javascripts:

// SUITE :: Jasmine
// SUITE MANIFEST :: spec/javascripts/jasmine.js
// TEST SRC DIR :: spec/javascripts
//
//= require helpers/jasmine-jquery
//
//= require JsonDataSpec

JsonDataSpec is the coffeescript spec file that I was going to create and that will be executed in the test. See the following example

spec/javascripts/JsonDataSpec.js.coffee:

describe "JsonData", ->
  it 'should should have the correct format', ->
    answer = null
    $.getJSON(
      "/controller/get_my_data/",
      (data) ->
        answer = data
    )

    waitsFor ->
      answer

    runs ->
      expect(typeof answer.string).toEqual('string')
      expect(typeof answer.number).toEqual('number')

The secret here is waitsFor -> answer, which will wait until the answer variable gets a non null value – that is, when the ajax call is complete. Only after that the actual test is run.

Last thing, I configured the test_track engine adding this code to routes.rb:

mount TestTrack::Engine => "test"

And that’s it! To use my tests, I just run the server using rails s and access the tests opening http://localhost:3000/test/jasmine in the browser. Smooth and easy.

Happy testing!

Bootstrapping hashtagify pro: How I doubled my workweek productivity

Creating a startup while working a full time job has its pros and cons. Among the pros, you don’t have to use a lot of your time minding your investors (or looking for them), and you can devote your energies to just make the best possible product. Among the cons, progress is slower and it is very difficult to be productive on workdays, when you already spend 8 hours or more on your day job.

But a week ago I read a comment on HN (edit: thanks to raju in the comments for pointing me to the exact link) that inspired me to rethink how I’m organizing myself , and with one simple change I doubled my productivity on workdays. How? Instead of working on hashtagify at nights, after getting home from my day job, I’m starting my day two hours earlier, and doing 2 hours of programming in the morning, before going to work.

I’m usually a night person, and have always been very productive at nights, since when I was just a student. But after eight hours of work, it is difficult to have that kind of focus that you need to program, and the two (or two and a half) hours in the morning have been much more productive than the equivalent time in the evening.

After coming home I still do some lighter work, and don’t go to bed without having scheduled a task to do the next morning; this way when I wake up I don’t have to think what to do and I can be immediately productive.

So, the bottom line is that work on hashtagify pro is proceeding very well: now I’m making as much progress during the workweek as I usually make during weekends, while before I only made major progress outside workdays. This means that soon enough I’ll be able to release the first beta. Stay tuned!