Automated UI testing of AngularJS applications using TFS – Part I

11 03 2015

This is the first part of 3 articles describing the automation of UI-tests with Team Foundation Server for AngularJS applications. Inside the first blog post all is explained how AngularJS applications can be tested manual. The automation of these manual steps will be discussed in Part II and Part III.

Why should we write automated test?

The quality of software application is more and more important. Customers / users expect a software application that works as expected and without errors. In case you can’t provide the quality the users expect, you can be sure that they search for alternatives.
Enterprise environments require certain standards to develop professional software products. Automated testing is one of these standards and helps to achieve the required product quality especially with more and more complex software products. Writing tests is the safety net to make sure that the quality won’t decrease and that all the existing features work as expected, especially when adding additional features to the application.
An automated test harness can reduce the costs for manual testing and can be repeated every time without the need of human testers. Manual regression testing can be reduced to a minimum (only tests that can’t be automated need manual regression testing).
Another benefit of automated tests is that bugs and quality issues can be found earlier. Testing different parameters and edge cases can be very time consuming with manual tests. Automated tests can reduce the amount of time needed and they are repeatable once they are written.

Benefits of integrating automated tests into the build infrastructure

The benefit of the integration of the test harness into the build infrastructure is the transparency and the traceability (especially with continuous integration). Every time when a build is triggered the automated tests provide you with results from the test harness. You can directly see what quality issues the current version of the application has and which change caused an issue. Having all necessary tests automated to make sure that the software is working as expected, you can release a new feature / new version of the software as soon as all tests pass. This reduces the need for complex manual tests and will save a lot of time until a new version can be released. The effort and time for manual tests increase much faster compared to the effort that is necessary for automated testing. This will become clearer when the product is growing and more and more features must be tested after changing the system / product.

Tools used for automated UI testing of AngularJS applications

In case you want to test an AngularJS application with automated UI tests you will find the protractor project helpful. Protractor is an E2E (end-to-end) Framework especially for AngularJS applications. This program is built on top of the WebDriverJs. WebDriverJs is using the Selenium browser automation framework. WebDriverJS helps you to run tests against a website and interact with the page like a normal user would do it. Protractor enhances the functionality of the WebDriverJS with a couple of AngularJS specifics which will improve writing test cases for AngularJS applications.

The workflow of automate E2E tests with protractor and TFS

The following picture provides an overview how E2E test can be automated with the Team Foundation Server.


How to write UI tests with protractor

The only thing you need for writing test is an editor of your choice. The test is written in JavaScript. The syntax to describe a test is from the Jasmine framework. With this syntax and the functions from the protractor library you are able to create tests which will interact with an AngularJS web page like a user would do it.

The following test is a sample from the protractor homepage and shows the interaction with the AngularJS homepage.

describe('angularjs homepage todo list', function() {
  it('should add a todo', function() {
    element(by.model('todoText')).sendKeys('write a protractor test');
    var todoList = element.all(by.repeater('todo in todos'));
    expect(todoList.get(2).getText()).toEqual('write a protractor test');

The test navigates to the AngularJS homepage. Some input is made with the keyboard and a mouse click is executed. At the end the results of the interaction with the page is asserted to check if adding the element worked as expected.

How to run E2E tests with protractor

To run an E2E test with protractor you need to do the following things:

  • Install protractor & webdriver-manager
  • Start the selenium server (with the webdriver-manager command)
  • The web application which should be tested should be up and running
  • Create a config file for protractor
  • Run the tests by calling protractor with the config file as parameter

Installation of protractor & webdriver-manager using npm (the nodejs package manager) can be done by calling:

npm install -g protractor
npm install -g webdriver-manager

Installing and starting the selenium server can be done by calling the following command:

webdriver-manager update
webdriver-manager start

Create a protractor configuration file (conf.js) with the following content (change / enhance the spec parameter depending where you stored you test spec files):

exports.config = {
  seleniumAddress: 'http://localhost:4444/wd/hub',
  specs: ['Tests/*.js']

Run the tests:

protractor conf.js

Now we are able to run the tests and see the test results on the console from which protractor was called. The next step is to export the test results to a format which is viewable inside TFS and Visual Studio.

Trx-Export of protractor test results

The test results of the protractor run should be transformed into a format which can be stored and viewed by Team Foundation Server / Visual Studio.

Two of my colleagues (Michael Lehman and Stefan Barthel) created a reporter for protractor to report the test results into the *.trx file format. Trx files are viewable inside Visual Studio with the test result window or can be published with mstest as build results of the Team Foundation Server. This reporter can be installed with npm by running the following command:

npm install protractor-trx-reporter

After the installation of the node package, we need to adjust the protractor configuration file. The following code needs to be added inside the protractor config file.

onPrepare: function () {
    new jasmine.TrxReporter('ProtractorTestResults.trx'));

Running the protractor tests again with the enhanced configuration will create the trx-file. This file can be published and integrated on the Team Foundation Server with the help of mstest. The command to do this can be found inside the next post where we start with the automation of this manual process.

If you need more information about the trx reporter you can visit the github page of the protractor-trx-reporter or the npm package site.




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