Frontend testing standards and style guidelines

There are two types of test suites encountered while developing frontend code at GitLab. We use Jest for JavaScript unit and integration testing, and RSpec feature tests with Capybara for e2e (end-to-end) integration testing.

Unit and feature tests need to be written for all new features. Most of the time, you should use RSpec for your feature tests.

Regression tests should be written for bug fixes to prevent them from recurring in the future.

See the Testing Standards and Style Guidelines page for more information on general testing practices at GitLab.

Vue.js testing

If you are looking for a guide on Vue component testing, you can jump right away to this section.


We use Jest to write frontend unit and integration tests. Jest tests can be found in /spec/frontend and /ee/spec/frontend in EE.

Limitations of jsdom

Jest uses jsdom instead of a browser for running tests. This comes with a number of limitations, namely:

See also the issue for support running Jest tests in browsers.

Debugging Jest tests

Running yarn jest-debug runs Jest in debug mode, allowing you to debug/inspect as described in the Jest docs.

Timeout error

The default timeout for Jest is set in /spec/frontend/test_setup.js.

If your test exceeds that time, it fails.

If you cannot improve the performance of the tests, you can increase the timeout for a specific test using setTestTimeout.

import { setTestTimeout } from 'helpers/timeout';

describe('Component', () => {
  it('does something amazing', () => {
    // ...

Remember that the performance of each test depends on the environment.

Test-specific stylesheets

To help facilitate RSpec integration tests we have two test-specific stylesheets. These can be used to do things like disable animations to improve test speed, or to make elements visible when they need to be targeted by Capybara click events:

  • app/assets/stylesheets/disable_animations.scss
  • app/assets/stylesheets/test_environment.scss

Because the test environment should match the production environment as much as possible, use these minimally and only add to them when necessary.

What and how to test

Before jumping into more gritty details about Jest-specific workflows like mocks and spies, we should briefly cover what to test with Jest.

Don't test the library

Libraries are an integral part of any JavaScript developer's life. The general advice would be to not test library internals, but expect that the library knows what it's supposed to do and has test coverage on its own. A general example could be something like this

import { convertToFahrenheit } from 'temperatureLibrary'

function getFahrenheit(celsius) {
  return convertToFahrenheit(celsius)

It does not make sense to test our getFahrenheit function because underneath it does nothing else but invoking the library function, and we can expect that one is working as intended. (Simplified, I know)

Let's take a short look into Vue land. Vue is a critical part of the GitLab JavaScript codebase. When writing specs for Vue components, a common gotcha is to actually end up testing Vue provided functionality, because it appears to be the easiest thing to test. Here's an example taken from our codebase.

// Component script
  computed: {
    hasMetricTypes() {
      return this.metricTypes.length;
<!-- Component template -->
  <gl-dropdown v-if="hasMetricTypes">
    <!-- Dropdown content -->

Testing the hasMetricTypes computed prop would seem like a given here. But to test if the computed property is returning the length of metricTypes, is testing the Vue library itself. There is no value in this, besides it adding to the test suite. It's better to test a component in the way the user interacts with it: checking the rendered template.

// Bad
describe('computed', () => {
  describe('hasMetricTypes', () => {
    it('returns true if metricTypes exist', () => {
      factory({ metricTypes });

    it('returns true if no metricTypes exist', () => {

// Good
it('displays a dropdown if metricTypes exist', () => {
  factory({ metricTypes });

it('does not display a dropdown if no metricTypes exist', () => {

Keep an eye out for these kinds of tests, as they just make updating logic more fragile and tedious than it needs to be. This is also true for other libraries. A suggestion here is: if you are checking a wrapper.vm property, you should probably stop and rethink the test to check the rendered template instead.

Some more examples can be found in the Frontend unit tests section

Don't test your mock

Another common gotcha is that the specs end up verifying the mock is working. If you are using mocks, the mock should support the test, but not be the target of the test.

const spy = jest.spyOn(idGenerator, 'create')
spy.mockImplementation = () = '1234'

// Bad

// Good: actually focusing on the logic of your component and just leverage the controllable mocks output
expect(wrapper.find('div').html()).toBe('<div id="1234">...</div>')

Follow the user

The line between unit and integration tests can be quite blurry in a component heavy world. The most important guideline to give is the following:

  • Write clean unit tests if there is actual value in testing a complex piece of logic in isolation to prevent it from breaking in the future
  • Otherwise, try to write your specs as close to the user's flow as possible

For example, it's better to use the generated markup to trigger a button click and validate the markup changed accordingly than to call a method manually and verify data structures or computed properties. There's always the chance of accidentally breaking the user flow, while the tests pass and provide a false sense of security.

Common practices

These some general common practices included as part of our test suite. Should you stumble over something not following this guide, ideally fix it right away. 🎉

How to query DOM elements

When it comes to querying DOM elements in your tests, it is best to uniquely and semantically target the element.

Preferentially, this is done by targeting what the user actually sees using DOM Testing Library. When selecting by text it is best to use the byRole query as it helps enforce accessibility best practices. findByRole and the other DOM Testing Library queries are available when using shallowMountExtended or mountExtended.

When writing Vue component unit tests, it can be wise to query children by component, so that the unit test can focus on comprehensive value coverage rather than dealing with the complexity of a child component's behavior.

Sometimes, neither of the above are feasible. In these cases, adding test attributes to simplify the selectors might be the best option. A list of possible selectors include:

import { shallowMountExtended } from 'helpers/vue_test_utils_helper'

const wrapper = shallowMountExtended(ExampleComponent);

// In this example, `wrapper` is a `@vue/test-utils` wrapper returned from `mount` or `shallowMount`.
it('exists', () => {
  // Best (especially for integration tests)
  wrapper.findByRole('link', { name: /Click Me/i })
  wrapper.findByRole('link', { name: 'Click Me' })
  wrapper.findByText('Click Me')
  wrapper.findByText(/Click Me/i)

  // Good (especially for unit tests)
  wrapper.findByTestId('my-foo-id'); // with shallowMountExtended or mountExtended – check below
  wrapper.find({ ref: 'foo'});

  // Bad

It is recommended to use kebab-case for data-testid attribute.

It is not recommended that you add .js-* classes just for testing purposes. Only do this if there are no other feasible options available.

Do not use a .qa-* class or data-qa-selector attribute for any tests other than QA end-to-end testing.

Querying for child components

When testing Vue components with @vue/test-utils another possible approach is querying for child components instead of querying for DOM nodes. This assumes that implementation details of behavior under test should be covered by that component's individual unit test. There is no strong preference in writing DOM or component queries as long as your tests reliably cover expected behavior for the component under test.


it('exists', () => {

Naming unit tests

When writing describe test blocks to test specific functions/methods, use the method name as the describe block name.


describe('#methodName', () => {
  it('passes', () => {

describe('.methodName', () => {
  it('passes', () => {


describe('methodName', () => {
  it('passes', () => {

Testing promises

When testing Promises you should always make sure that the test is asynchronous and rejections are handled. It's now possible to use the async/await syntax in the test suite:

it('tests a promise', async () => {
  const users = await fetchUsers()

it('tests a promise rejection', async () => {
  await expect(user.getUserName(1)).rejects.toThrow('User with 1 not found.');

You can also simply return a promise from the test function.

Using the done and callbacks is discouraged when working with promises. They should only be used when testing callback-based code.


// missing return
it('tests a promise', () => {
  promise.then(data => {

// uses done/
it('tests a promise', done => {
    .then(data => {


// verifying a resolved promise
it('tests a promise', () => {
  return promise
    .then(data => {

// verifying a resolved promise using Jest's `resolves` matcher
it('tests a promise', () => {
  return expect(promise).resolves.toBe(asExpected);

// verifying a rejected promise using Jest's `rejects` matcher
it('tests a promise rejection', () => {
  return expect(promise).rejects.toThrow(expectedError);

Manipulating Time

Sometimes we have to test time-sensitive code. For example, recurring events that run every X amount of seconds or similar. Here are some strategies to deal with that:

setTimeout() / setInterval() in application

If the application itself is waiting for some time, mock await the waiting. In Jest this is already done by default (see also Jest Timer Mocks).

const doSomethingLater = () => {
  setTimeout(() => {
    // do something
  }, 4000);

in Jest:

it('does something', () => {


Mocking the current location in Jest

NOTE: The value of window.location.href is reset before every test to avoid earlier tests affecting later ones.

If your tests require window.location.href to take a particular value, use the setWindowLocation helper:

import setWindowLocation from 'helpers/set_window_location';

it('passes', () => {

    hostname: 'gitlab.test',
    pathname: '/foo',
    search: '?bar=true',

To modify only the hash, use either the setWindowLocation helper, or assign directly to window.location.hash, for example:

it('passes', () => {
  window.location.hash = '#foo';


If your tests need to assert that certain window.location methods were called, use the useMockLocationHelper helper:

import { useMockLocationHelper } from 'helpers/mock_window_location_helper';


it('passes', () => {


Waiting in tests

Sometimes a test needs to wait for something to happen in the application before it continues. Avoid using setTimeout because it makes the reason for waiting unclear. Instead use one of the following approaches.

Promises and Ajax calls

Register handler functions to wait for the Promise to be resolved.

const askTheServer = () => {
  return axios
    .then(response => {
      // do something
    .catch(error => {
      // do something else

in Jest:

it('waits for an Ajax call', async () => {
  await askTheServer()

If you are not able to register handlers to the Promise, for example because it is executed in a synchronous Vue life cycle hook, take a look at the waitFor helpers or you can flush all pending Promises:

in Jest:

it('waits for an Ajax call', () => {


Vue rendering

To wait until a Vue component is re-rendered, use either of the equivalent Vue.nextTick() or vm.$nextTick().

in Jest:

it('renders something', () => {
  wrapper.setProps({ value: 'new value' });

  return wrapper.vm.$nextTick().then(() => {
    expect(wrapper.text()).toBe('new value');


If the application triggers an event that you need to wait for in your test, register an event handler which contains the assertions:

it('waits for an event', done => {
  eventHub.$once('someEvent', eventHandler);


  function eventHandler() {

In Jest you can also use a Promise for this:

it('waits for an event', () => {
  const eventTriggered = new Promise(resolve => eventHub.$once('someEvent', resolve));


  return eventTriggered.then(() => {

Ensuring that tests are isolated

Tests are normally architected in a pattern which requires a recurring setup and breakdown of the component under test. This is done by making use of the beforeEach and afterEach hooks.


  let wrapper;

  beforeEach(() => {
    wrapper = mount(Component);

  afterEach(() => {

When looking at this initially you'd suspect that the component is setup before each test and then broken down afterwards, providing isolation between tests.

This is however not entirely true as the destroy method does not remove everything which has been mutated on the wrapper object. For functional components, destroy only removes the rendered DOM elements from the document.

Jest best practices

Introduced in GitLab 13.2.

Prefer toBe over toEqual when comparing primitive values

Jest has toBe and toEqual matchers. As toBe uses to compare values, it's faster (by default) than using toEqual. While the latter eventually falls back to leverage, for primitive values, it should only be used when complex objects need a comparison.


const foo = 1;

// Bad

// Good

Prefer more befitting matchers

Jest provides useful matchers like toHaveLength or toBeUndefined to make your tests more readable and to produce more understandable error messages. Check their docs for the full list of matchers.


const arr = [1, 2];

// prints:
// Expected length: 1
// Received length: 2

// prints:
// Expected: 1
// Received: 2

// prints:
// expect(received).toBe(expected) // equality
// Expected: undefined
// Received: "bar"
const foo = 'bar';

// prints:
// expect(received).toBeUndefined()
// Received: "bar"
const foo = 'bar';

Avoid using toBeTruthy or toBeFalsy

Jest also provides following matchers: toBeTruthy and toBeFalsy. We should not use them because they make tests weaker and produce false-positive results.

For example, expect(someBoolean).toBeFalsy() passes when someBoolean === null, and when someBoolean === false.

Tricky toBeDefined matcher

Jest has the tricky toBeDefined matcher that can produce false positive test. Because it validates the given value for undefined only.

// Bad: if finder returns null, the test will pass

// Good

Avoid using setImmediate

Try to avoid using setImmediate. setImmediate is an ad-hoc solution to run your callback after the I/O completes. And it's not part of the Web API, hence, we target NodeJS environments in our unit tests.

Instead of setImmediate, use jest.runAllTimers or jest.runOnlyPendingTimers to run pending timers. The latter is useful when you have setInterval in the code. Remember: our Jest configuration uses fake timers.

Avoid non-deterministic specs

Non-determinism is the breeding ground for flaky and brittle specs. Such specs end up breaking the CI pipeline, interrupting the work flow of other contributors.

  1. Make sure your test subject's collaborators (for example, Axios, Apollo, Lodash helpers) and test environment (for example, Date) behave consistently across systems and over time.
  2. Make sure tests are focused and not doing "extra work" (for example, needlessly creating the test subject more than once in an individual test).

Faking Date for determinism

Date is faked by default in our Jest environment. This means every call to Date() or returns a fixed deterministic value.

If you really need to change the default fake date, you can call useFakeDate within any describe block, and the date will be replaced for that specs within that describe context only:

import { useFakeDate } from 'helpers/fake_date';

describe('cool/component', () => {
  // Default fake `Date`
  const TODAY = new Date();

  // NOTE: `useFakeDate` cannot be called during test execution (that is, inside `it`, `beforeEach`, `beforeAll`, etc.).
  describe("on Ada Lovelace's Birthday", () => {
    useFakeDate(1815, 11, 10)

    it('Date is no longer default', () => {
      expect(new Date()).not.toEqual(TODAY);

  it('Date is still default in this scope', () => {
    expect(new Date()).toEqual(TODAY)

Similarly, if you really need to use the real Date class, then you can import and call useRealDate within any describe block:

import { useRealDate } from 'helpers/fake_date';

// NOTE: `useRealDate` cannot be called during test execution (that is, inside `it`, `beforeEach`, `beforeAll`, etc.).
describe('with real date', () => {

Faking Math.random for determinism

Consider replacing Math.random with a fake when the test subject depends on it.

beforeEach(() => {
  jest.spyOn(Math, 'random').mockReturnValue(0.4);



Mocking Strategies with Jest

Stubbing and Mocking

Stubs or spies are often used synonymously. In Jest it's quite easy thanks to the .spyOn method. Official docs The more challenging part are mocks, which can be used for functions or even dependencies.

Manual module mocks

Manual mocks are used to mock modules across the entire Jest environment. This is a very powerful testing tool that helps simplify unit testing by mocking out modules that cannot be easily consumed in our test environment.

WARNING: Do not use manual mocks if a mock should not be consistently applied in every spec (that is, it's only needed by a few specs). Instead, consider using jest.mock(..) (or a similar mocking function) in the relevant spec file.

Where should I put manual mocks?

Jest supports manual module mocks by placing a mock in a __mocks__/ directory next to the source module (for example, app/assets/javascripts/ide/__mocks__). Don't do this. We want to keep all of our test-related code in one place (the spec/ folder).

If a manual mock is needed for a node_modules package, use the spec/frontend/__mocks__ folder. Here's an example of a Jest mock for the package monaco-editor.

If a manual mock is needed for a CE module, place the implementation in spec/frontend/__helpers__/mocks and add a line to the frontend/test_setup (or the frontend/shared_test_setup) that looks something like:

// "~/lib/utils/axios_utils" is the path to the real module
// "helpers/mocks/axios_utils" is the path to the mocked implementation
jest.mock('~/lib/utils/axios_utils', () => jest.requireActual('helpers/mocks/axios_utils'));

Manual mock examples

  • __helpers__/mocks/axios_utils - This mock is helpful because we don't want any unmocked requests to pass any tests. Also, we are able to inject some test helpers such as axios.waitForAll.
  • __mocks__/mousetrap/index.js - This mock is helpful because the module itself uses AMD format which webpack understands, but is incompatible with the jest environment. This mock doesn't remove any behavior, only provides a nice es6 compatible wrapper.
  • __mocks__/monaco-editor/index.js - This mock is helpful because the Monaco package is completely incompatible in a Jest environment. In fact, webpack requires a special loader to make it work. This mock makes this package consumable by Jest.

Keep mocks light

Global mocks introduce magic and technically can reduce test coverage. When mocking is deemed profitable:

  • Keep the mock short and focused.
  • Leave a top-level comment in the mock on why it is necessary.

Additional mocking techniques

Consult the official Jest docs for a full overview of the available mocking features.

Running Frontend Tests

Before generating fixtures, make sure you have a running GDK instance.

For running the frontend tests, you need the following commands:

  • rake frontend:fixtures (re-)generates fixtures. Make sure that fixtures are up-to-date before running tests that require them.
  • yarn jest runs Jest tests.

Live testing and focused testing -- Jest

While you work on a test suite, you may want to run these specs in watch mode, so they rerun automatically on every save.

# Watch and rerun all specs matching the name icon
yarn jest --watch icon

# Watch and rerun one specific file
yarn jest --watch path/to/spec/file.spec.js

You can also run some focused tests without the --watch flag

# Run specific jest file
yarn jest ./path/to/local_spec.js
# Run specific jest folder
yarn jest ./path/to/folder/
# Run all jest files which path contain term
yarn jest term

Frontend test fixtures

Frontend fixtures are files containing responses from backend controllers. These responses can be either HTML generated from HAML templates or JSON payloads. Frontend tests that rely on these responses are often using fixtures to validate correct integration with the backend code.

Use fixtures

To import a JSON fixture, import it using the test_fixtures alias.

import responseBody from 'test_fixtures/some/fixture.json' // loads spec/frontend/fixtures/some/fixture.json

it('makes a request', () => {
  axiosMock.onGet(endpoint).reply(200, responseBody);;

  // ...

For other fixtures, Jest uses spec/frontend/__helpers__/fixtures.js to import them in tests.

The following are examples of tests that work for Jest:

it('uses some HTML element', () => {
  loadFixtures('some/page.html'); // loads spec/frontend/fixtures/some/page.html and adds it to the DOM

  const element = document.getElementById('#my-id');

  // ...

Generate fixtures

You can find code to generate test fixtures in:

  • spec/frontend/fixtures/, for running tests in CE.
  • ee/spec/frontend/fixtures/, for running tests in EE.

You can generate fixtures by running:

  • bin/rake frontend:fixtures to generate all fixtures
  • bin/rspec spec/frontend/fixtures/merge_requests.rb to generate specific fixtures (in this case for merge_request.rb)

You can find generated fixtures are in tmp/tests/frontend/fixtures-ee.

Creating new fixtures

For each fixture, you can find the content of the response variable in the output file. For example, a test named "merge_requests/diff_discussion.json" in spec/frontend/fixtures/merge_requests.rb produces an output file tmp/tests/frontend/fixtures-ee/merge_requests/diff_discussion.json. The response variable gets automatically set if the test is marked as type: :request or type: :controller.

When creating a new fixture, it often makes sense to take a look at the corresponding tests for the endpoint in (ee/)spec/controllers/ or (ee/)spec/requests/.

GraphQL query fixtures

You can create a fixture that represents the result of a GraphQL query using the get_graphql_query_as_string helper method. For example:

# spec/frontend/fixtures/releases.rb

describe GraphQL::Query, type: :request do
  include GraphqlHelpers

  all_releases_query_path = 'releases/graphql/queries/all_releases.query.graphql'

  it "graphql/#{all_releases_query_path}.json" do
    query = get_graphql_query_as_string(all_releases_query_path)

    post_graphql(query, current_user: admin, variables: { fullPath: project.full_path })


This will create a new fixture located at tmp/tests/frontend/fixtures-ee/graphql/releases/graphql/queries/all_releases.query.graphql.json.

You can import the JSON fixture in a Jest test using the test_fixtures alias as described below.

Data-driven tests

Similar to RSpec's parameterized tests, Jest supports data-driven tests for:

These can be useful for reducing repetition within tests. Each option can take an array of data values or a tagged template literal.

For example:

// function to test
const icon = status => status ? 'pipeline-passed' : 'pipeline-failed'
const message = status => status ? 'pipeline-passed' : 'pipeline-failed'

// test with array block
    [false, 'pipeline-failed'],
    [true, 'pipeline-passed']
])('icon with %s will return %s',
 (status, icon) => {

NOTE: Only use template literal block if pretty print is not needed for spec output. For example, empty strings, nested objects etc.

For example, when testing the difference between an empty search string and a non-empty search string, the use of the array block syntax with the pretty print option would be preferred. That way the differences between an empty string ('') and a non-empty string ('search string') would be visible in the spec output. Whereas with a template literal block, the empty string would be shown as a space, which could lead to a confusing developer experience.

// bad
    searchTerm | expected
    ${''} | ${{ issue: { users: { nodes: [] } } }}
    ${'search term'} | ${{ issue: { other: { nested: [] } } }}
`('when search term is $searchTerm, it returns $expected', ({ searchTerm, expected }) => {

// good
    ['', { issue: { users: { nodes: [] } } }],
    ['search term', { issue: { other: { nested: [] } } }],
])('when search term is %p, expect to return %p',
 (searchTerm, expected) => {
// test suite with tagged template literal block
    status   | icon                 | message
    ${false} | ${'pipeline-failed'} | ${'Pipeline failed - boo-urns'}
    ${true}  | ${'pipeline-passed'} | ${'Pipeline succeeded - win!'}
`('pipeline component', ({ status, icon, message }) => {
    it(`returns icon ${icon} with status ${status}`, () => {

    it(`returns message ${message} with status ${status}`, () => {


RSpec errors due to JavaScript

By default RSpec unit tests don't run JavaScript in the headless browser and rely on inspecting the HTML generated by rails.

If an integration test depends on JavaScript to run correctly, you need to make sure the spec is configured to enable JavaScript when the tests are run. If you don't do this, the spec runner displays vague error messages.

To enable a JavaScript driver in an rspec test, add :js to the individual spec or the context block containing multiple specs that need JavaScript enabled:

# For one spec
it 'presents information about abuse report', :js do
  # assertions...

describe "Admin::AbuseReports", :js do
  it 'presents information about abuse report' do
    # assertions...
  it 'shows buttons for adding to abuse report' do
    # assertions...

Jest test timeout due to asynchronous imports

If a module asynchronously imports some other modules at runtime, these modules must be transpiled by the Jest loaders at runtime. It's possible that this can cause Jest to timeout.

If you run into this issue, consider eager importing the module so that Jest compiles and caches it at compile-time, fixing the runtime timeout.

Consider the following example:

// the_subject.js

export default {
  components: {
    // Async import Thing because it is large and isn't always needed.
    Thing: () => import(/* webpackChunkName: 'thing' */ './path/to/thing.vue'),

Jest doesn't automatically transpile the thing.vue module, and depending on its size, could cause Jest to time out. We can force Jest to transpile and cache this module by eagerly importing it like so:

// the_subject_spec.js

import Subject from '~/feature/the_subject.vue';

// Force Jest to transpile and cache
// eslint-disable-next-line no-unused-vars
import _Thing from '~/feature/path/to/thing.vue';

NOTE: Do not disregard test timeouts. This could be a sign that there's actually a production problem. Use this opportunity to analyze the production webpack bundles and chunks and confirm that there is not a production issue with the asynchronous imports.

Overview of Frontend Testing Levels

Main information on frontend testing levels can be found in the Testing Levels page.

Tests relevant for frontend development can be found at the following places:

  • spec/frontend/, for Jest tests
  • spec/features/, for RSpec tests

RSpec runs complete feature tests, while the Jest directories contain frontend unit tests, frontend component tests, and frontend integration tests.

Before May 2018, features/ also contained feature tests run by Spinach. These tests were removed from the codebase in May 2018 (#23036).

See also Notes on testing Vue components.

Test helpers

Test helpers can be found in spec/frontend/__helpers__. If you introduce new helpers, place them in that directory.

Vuex Helper: testAction

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

// prefer using like this, a single object argument so parameters are obvious from reading the test
await testAction({
  action: actions.actionName,
  payload: { deleteListId: 1 },
  state: { lists: [1, 2, 3] },
  expectedMutations: [ { type: types.MUTATION} ],
  expectedActions: [],

// old way, don't do this for new tests
  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

Wait until Axios requests finish

The Axios Utils mock module located in spec/frontend/mocks/ce/lib/utils/axios_utils.js contains two helper methods for Jest tests that spawn HTTP requests. These are very useful if you don't have a handle to the request's Promise, for example when a Vue component does a request as part of its life cycle.

  • waitFor(url, callback): Runs callback after a request to url finishes (either successfully or unsuccessfully).
  • waitForAll(callback): Runs callback once all pending requests have finished. If no requests are pending, runs callback on the next tick.

Both functions run callback on the next tick after the requests finish (using setImmediate()), to allow any .then() or .catch() handlers to run.

shallowMountExtended and mountExtended

The shallowMountExtended and mountExtended utilities provide you with the ability to perform any of the available DOM Testing Library queries by prefixing them with find or findAll.

import { shallowMountExtended } from 'helpers/vue_test_utils_helper';

describe('FooComponent', () => {
  const wrapper = shallowMountExtended({
    template: `
      <div data-testid="gitlab-frontend-stack">
        <p>GitLab frontend stack</p>
        <div role="tablist">
          <button role="tab" aria-selected="true">Vue.js</button>
          <button role="tab" aria-selected="false">GraphQL</button>
          <button role="tab" aria-selected="false">SCSS</button>

  it('finds elements with `findByTestId`', () => {

  it('finds elements with `findByText`', () => {
    expect(wrapper.findByText('GitLab frontend stack').exists()).toBe(true);

  it('finds elements with `findAllByRole`', () => {

Check an example in spec/frontend/alert_management/components/alert_details_spec.js.

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. Sign in to BrowserStack with the credentials saved in the Engineering vault of the GitLab shared 1Password account.



You can download any older version of Firefox from the releases FTP server,

  1. From the website, select a version, in this case 50.0.1.
  2. Go to the mac folder.
  3. Select your preferred language. The DMG package is 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/ -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.


By now you've probably heard of Jest snapshot tests and why they are useful for various reasons. To use them within GitLab, there are a few guidelines that should be highlighted:

  • Treat snapshots as code
  • Don't think of a snapshot file as a Blackbox
  • Care for the output of the snapshot, otherwise, it's not providing any real value. This will usually involve reading the generated snapshot file as you would read any other piece of code

Think of a snapshot test as a simple way to store a raw String representation of what you've put into the item being tested. This can be used to evaluate changes in a component, a store, a complex piece of generated output, etc. You can see more in the list below for some recommended Do's and Don'ts. While snapshot tests can be a very powerful tool. They are meant to supplement, not to replace unit tests.

Jest provides a great set of docs on best practices that we should keep in mind when creating snapshots.

How does a snapshot work?

A snapshot is purely a stringified version of what you ask to be tested on the lefthand side of the function call. This means any kind of changes you make to the formatting of the string has an impact on the outcome. This process is done by leveraging serializers for an automatic transform step. For Vue this is already taken care of by leveraging the vue-jest package, which offers the proper serializer.

Should the outcome of your spec be different from what is in the generated snapshot file, you'll be notified about it by a failing test in your test suite.

Find all the details in Jests official documentation

How to take a snapshot

it('makes the name look pretty', () => {
  expect(prettifyName('Homer Simpson')).toMatchSnapshot()

When this test runs the first time a fresh .snap file will be created. It will look something like this:

// Jest Snapshot v1,

exports[`makes the name look pretty`] = `
Sir Homer Simpson the Third

Now, every time you call this test, the new snapshot will be evaluated against the previously created version. This should highlight the fact that it's important to understand the content of your snapshot file and treat it with care. Snapshots will lose their value if the output of the snapshot is too big or complex to read, this means keeping snapshots isolated to human-readable items that can be either evaluated in a merge request review or are guaranteed to never change. The same can be done for wrappers or elements

it('renders the component correctly', () => {

The above test will create two snapshots. It's important to decide which of the snapshots provide more value for codebase safety. That is, if one of these snapshots changes, does that highlight a possible break in the codebase? This can help catch unexpected changes if something in an underlying dependency changes without our knowledge.

Pros and Cons


  • Speed up the creation of unit tests
  • Easy to maintain
  • Provides a good safety net to protect against accidental breakage of important HTML structures


  • Is not a catch-all solution that replaces the work of integration or unit tests
  • No meaningful assertions or expectations within snapshots
  • When carelessly used with GitLab UI it can create fragility in tests when the underlying library changes the HTML of a component we are testing

A good guideline to follow: the more complex the component you may want to steer away from just snapshot testing. But that's not to say you can't still snapshot test and test your component as normal.

When to use

Use snapshots when

  • to capture a components rendered output
  • to fully or partially match templates
  • to match readable data structures
  • to verify correctly composed native HTML elements
  • as a safety net for critical structures so others don't break it by accident
  • Template heavy component
  • Not a lot of logic in the component
  • Composed of native HTML elements

When not to use

Don't use snapshots when

  • To capture large data structures just to have something
  • To just have some kind of test written
  • To capture highly volatile UI elements without stubbing them (Think of GitLab UI version updates)

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