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Making JavaScript Tests Fast, Easy, and Friendly


In modern web development, it's more or less a given that writing and running tests speeds development, ensures application robustness, and is most emphatically what you should be doing. And yet, many development teams struggle to get most, or even some, of their JavaScript code bases tested.

It's time to look beyond the standard "how to wire up a test framework" topics and focus on a singular, overarching goal: "how do we get developers to actually write the tests?"

In this talk, I'll discuss the testing lessons learned through managing test infrastructures / education for JavaScript teams of all sizes and writing my book, "Backbone.js Testing". Some key points that have arisen across projects of various sizes and developers with very different backgrounds include:

  • The tests must be easy to write.
  • The tests must run very quickly.
  • The tests must be reliable.
  • Developers must be well-supported when they need help in learning testing concepts and as they hit more advanced testing scenarios.
  • ... and ideally all of this is in place at the start of the project (or ASAP otherwise).

My presentation will discuss the various means of getting your test infrastructure in shape to make the tests easy to run, write, and rely upon. We'll briefly survey scenarios like frontend JavaScript vs. backend Node.js, as well as the popular test frameworks for both.

I will also talk about developer education and support, particularly for those who have never written a single test before. And I'll discuss getting traction for testing in business organizations (startups or large companies), even under tight deadlines and managers that don't see the immediate benefits of testing.

Finally, I'll offer some practical tips of how you can make testing easier, faster, and friendlier in your development team and spread the testing love!

Speaker Bio


Ryan is the CTO and co-founder of Formidable Labs, a boutique JavaScript development shop in (the delightfully weird neighborhood of) Fremont in Seattle, WA. He helps lead the Seattle Node.js Meetup and is the author of "Backbone.js Testing", a comprehensive test development guide for modern Backbone.js web applications.

Ryan architects full-stack JavaScript applications and backend Node.js services, and leads frontend development groups ranging from small startups to Fortune 500 engineering teams. Previously, Ryan was a distributed systems engineer, and in his deep, dark past was a patent attorney, although it has been a long time since he has put on his "lawyer" hat.