Martin Micunda
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How to start writing unit tests with ES6, Angular 1.x and JSPM

ES6 unit tests workflow with Karma, JSPM, Istanbul and Jasmine

For last couple of months I have been working on Employee Scheduling application that is fully written in ES2015 and ES2016 with Angular 1.x (if you want to know more about how to write apps with ES2015, Angular 1.x and JSPM check my blog post here) and came to the point where I had to start writing some unit tests.

Currently I am running over 900 unit tests and in this post I gonna describe how I got running all these tests with ES2015, Angular 1.x, Karma, JSPM, Istanbul and Jasmine.

Writing unit tests with ES2015 is really easy and in some cases you don't depend on angular-mocks at all as you only test vanilla JavaScript code. To give you some example let's have look how we can test authentication service written in ES2015 and Angular 1.x:


import {Service, Inject} from '../../ng-decorators';

    serviceName: 'AuthenticationService'
@Inject('AuthenticationResource', 'TokenModel')
class AuthenticationService {
    constructor(AuthenticationResource, TokenModel) {
        this.TokenModel = TokenModel;
        this.AuthenticationResource = AuthenticationResource;

    logout() {
        return this.AuthenticationResource.logout().then(() => {

export default AuthenticationService;

NOTE: I am using ES2016 decorators in my code to avoid boilerplate code. If you want to know more about decorators read my blog post How to use ES2016 decorators to avoid Angular 1.x and ES2015 boilerplate code.

In below test I do not need to inject any dependencies with Angular and instead I take advantage of ES2015 modules also I do not use $q promise instead I am using ES2015 promise and then I resolve these promises with tiny library called jasmine-async-sugar (we gonna talk about this library later on in this blog).


'use strict';

import TokenModel from '../models/token.js';
import AuthenticationResource from '../resources/authentication/authentication.js';
import AuthenticationService from './authentication.js';

describe('AuthenticationService', () => {

    let authenticationService, authenticationResource, tokenModel;

    beforeEach(() => {
        tokenModel = new TokenModel();
        authenticationResource = new AuthenticationResource();

    itAsync('should logout and remove token', () => {
        spyOn(authenticationResource, 'logout').and.returnValue(Promise.resolve());
        spyOn(tokenModel, 'remove');

        authenticationService = new AuthenticationService(authenticationResource, tokenModel);

        return authenticationService.logout().then(() => {

As I mentioned early I have written over 900 unit tests so if you want to see how to test config, directives, routes, components etc. then have look at Employee Scheduling project.

Setting up Karma with JSPM

To get running unit tests written in ES2015 we need to install extra libraries so let's install follow packages:

npm install --save-dev jasmine-core phantomjs karma karma-jasmine karma-phantomjs-launcher karma-jspm jasmine-async-sugar


We start with basic settings where we add frameworks block:

'use strict';

module.exports = function (config) {

        frameworks: ['jspm', 'jasmine'],



We use PhantomJS as our headless test browser so we need to add polyfill to fix issue with Function.bind() that is not supported by PhantomJS 1.x. The bind() function is use by SystemJS and it might be use in other libraries so it is good idea to include this polyfill with PhantomJS 1.x.

I also like to use tiny jasmine-async-sugar library that enhance testing of async (promise) functionality in Angular 1.X applications. To give you quick taste have look on the follow code:

it('tests async functionality in standard way', (done) => {
        .then(function(response) {


and here is same code with jasmine-async-sugar library where we don't need to use angular $rootScope:

itAsync('tests async functionality without "done", manual "$rootScope.$digest" triggering', () => {
    return AsyncService.resolveAsync()
        .then(function(response) {

Add below files block to karma.conf.js file:

files: [

TIP: I stopped using Angular $q promise in my application, test code and instead I am using ES2015 promise.


In below lines we configure karma-jspm. The loadFiles configuration tells karma-jspm which files should be dynamically loaded via SystemJS before the tests run. The serveFiles configuration will only load these files when and if the loadFiles files require them. The src/app/app.js is the main file that bootstrap angular app and includes all app sub-modules.

jspm: {
    config: 'jspm.conf.js',
    loadFiles: ['src/app/app.js', 'src/app/**/*.spec.js'],
    serveFiles: ['test/helpers/**/*.js','src/app/**/*.+(js|html|css|json)']

TIP: I saw a few times that people try only load test files in loadFiles and then application files in serveFiles and I would not recommend this if you are planning to generate coverage thresholds for your code. If you gonna load only test files in loadFiles then coverage thresholds will be generate only for these files e.g.: you have app files A.js, B.js, C.js and you write test only for file A.spec.js then you get only coverage for file A.js with 100% coverage which is incorrect from application point of view because I would expect coverage under 100% as files B.js and C.js haven't been tested. This can be easily missed in large applications when some developer might forgot to write test.

Depends on your application file structure you might see 404 error when you run your test. To fix this error you need to proxy your paths to /base/ prefix e.g.:

proxies: {
    '/test/': '/base/test/',
    '/src/app/': '/base/src/app/',
    '/jspm_packages/': '/base/jspm_packages/'

NOTE: This is bug in karma-jspm and it might be fix in the future so you will not need to proxy anything.


The karma.conf.js file is available here and you should be able to run your ES2015 code with JSPM now. If you want to know how to run coverage for ES2015 code then just continue reading.

Setting up coverage for ES2015 code

To get running coverage for ES2015 code we need to install extra libraries so let's install follow packages:

npm install --save-dev karma-coverage karma-babel-preprocessor isparta 

The karma-babel-preprocessor is transpiling ES2015 to ES5 code with babel since the coverage reporter throws error on ES6 syntax and the isparta is a instrumenter code coverage tool for ES2015 using babel.

preprocessors: {
    'src/**/!(*.spec|*.mock|*-mock|*.e2e|*.po|*.test).js': ['babel', 'coverage']

babelPreprocessor: {
    options: {
        stage: 1,
        sourceMap: 'inline'

coverageReporter: {
    instrumenters: { isparta : require('isparta') },
    instrumenter: {
        'src/**/*.js': 'isparta'
    dir: 'test-reports/coverage/',
    reporters: [
        {type: 'html'},
        {type: 'text-summary'}

TIP: Make sure you don't forget include sourceMap: 'inline' to babel options otherwise you might see error like this [TypeError: Cannot read property 'text' of undefined].

After you run tests the coverage reports can be found in the test-reports/coverage/ folder. The ES2015 coverage report for Employee Scheduling project is available here.



At the time of writing this blog there are a few issues with ES2015 coverage so let's have look on these issues and how to fix them.

Issue 1

The current karma-coverage is only showing ES5 code and not ES2015 as you would expect so to fix this problem we need to use a fork version that was created by Douglas Duteil.

"karma-coverage": "douglasduteil/karma-coverage#next"

My understanding is that Douglas already merged his changes to origin karma-coverage repo and from this comment it should be clear that there is no need for the fork anymore however I tried karma-coverage v0.5.x and I was not able to get ES2015 output. I have opened issue regarding to this problem.

Issue 2

When you generate ES2015 coverage reports you might see error like this:

ERROR [coverage]: [TypeError: Cannot read property 'text' of undefined]
TypeError: Cannot read property 'text' of undefined

This is an issue with Istanbul and source maps so to fix this problem we need use Istanbul branch that has fix for this issue:

"istanbul": "gotwarlost/istanbul.git#source-map",


When I started to write applications in ES2015 a couple months ago I wasn't really confident to go to production because I really struggled to get run the tests and coverage for these applications however as I got running over 900 unit tests in one of my project I can say that I am really confident to push these applications to production now. All code and test examples mentioned in this post with karma.conf.js file can be found in my Employee Scheduling project.

Written by
Full Stack Software Engineer

Martin Micunda

Martin Micunda Full Stack Software Engineer

Martin Micunda is a Full Stack Software Engineer based in Dublin, Ireland.