JavaScript Testing: Jasmine syntax

JavaScript Testing: Jasmine syntax

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The basic example contains the general test suite structure and the two most used matchers toBe() (===) and toEqual() (deep compare), followed by all the other matchers that come out of the box.

To finish some helpers for your workflow: how to only have certain tests run and how to exclude tests.

Basic example

Time to start writing some real tests with Jasmine!

describe('basic example', () => {
  beforeEach(() => {
    this.result = 1;

  it('can hardly fail', () => {
    // toBe() uses ===

    // For primitive types, toEqual
    // behaves the same way as toBe
    // toEqual goes further however
    // by deeply comparing objects.
    expect({a: {}}).toEqual({a: {}});
    expect([0, {a: 1}]).toEqual([0, {a: 1}]);

  afterAll(() => {});

A describe groups one or more related tests together in a suite. Describes can be nested indefinitely and contain one it for each test in the suite.

beforeAll and afterAll runs once before/after all tests in the containing describe are executed. beforeEach and afterEach runs once before/after each test is executed.

The this context is shared in the beforeX/afterX functions and the its, allowing you to setup/teardown stuff and access them in your tests.


Set expectations with matchers. Usage and differences of toBe and toEqual are already covered in the basic example above. These are the other matchers:

it('can negate any matcher with .not', () => {

it('knows about regexes', () => {
  expect('some bar').toMatch(/bar$/);
  expect('some bar').toMatch('\\sbar');

it('can check numbers', () => {
  expect(5).toBeLessThan(10); // .toBeLessThanOrEqual(5);
  expect(5).toBeGreaterThan(1); // .toBeGreaterThanOrEqual(5);

  const precision = 3;
  expect(Math.PI).toBeCloseTo(3.142, precision);

it('has some special matchers', () => {
  // .toBeNull(); .toBeDefined(); .toBeNaN();
  // .toBeNegativeInfinity(); .toBePositiveInfinity();
  // .toHaveClass(domEl): contains the class
  // .withContext('show this on failure');

it('gets funky with partial matchers', () => {
  expect(['a', {b: {}}]).toContain({b: {}});
  expect('some string').toContain('some');

  expect({bar: 'baz', ack: 'yaye'}).toEqual(jasmine.objectContaining({bar: 'baz'}));
  expect([1, 2, 3]).not.toEqual(jasmine.arrayContaining([1, 6]));
  expect({foo: 'foobarbaz'}).toEqual({foo: jasmine.stringMatching('baz$')});

  // jasmine.arrayWithExactContents()
  // .empty(); .notEmpty();
  // .truthy(); .falsy();

it('can check for errors', () => {
  const foo = () => {
    throw new TypeError('foo bar baz');


  // Error message must be exact match in order to pass
  expect(foo).toThrowError('foo bar baz');
  expect(foo).toThrowError(TypeError, 'foo bar baz');

  expect(foo).toThrowMatching(err => err.message.includes('baz'));

it('jasmine.any', () => {
  // Number, Boolean, Date, String, Array
  // Or 'YourType'

it('jasmine.anything', () => {

The matchers source for if you’d like to take a peek at the implementations.


If you are iterating over the same test(s) you can temporarily run these tests by prefixing one or more describe and/or its with an f. You can also execute a single file from the CLI jasmine src/someSpec.js.

Obviously you’ll never want to do the opposite: exclude a test from the suite. But.. If you must, it is possible to temporarily disable a describe/it by prefixing it with an x.

// f = focused
fdescribe('only my its will run', () => {
  it('which is me', () => {});
  it('and me', () => {});
  xit('but not me', () => {});

xit('I will not run, even if the fdescribe above is removed', () => {});

Other helpers available in an it:

  • pending(string). An it where the second parameter is omitted is automatically pending.
  • fail(string | Error)

Stuff that came into being during the making of this post
  • 28 March 2023 : Updated to Jasmine 4.3.0.
Tags: tutorial testing