Introducing intern-cli

Datetime:2016-08-23 02:50:22         Topic: Unit Testing          Share        Original >>
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One of Intern’s goals has always been to make writing high-quality tests easier, but running those tests hasn’t always been straightforward. Now there‘s a new way to run Intern tests — intern-cli . This package provides an intern command that has a POSIX-like interface, using familiar flags and options like --help . It follows some conventions that make running Intern simpler, and provides plenty of inline help. It even makes getting started with Intern easier with a new init command.

First things first — you can install intern-cli using npm:

$ npm install -g intern-cli

Note that unlike a normal Intern install, we’re installing intern-cli globally. This is similar to how other popular npm-based dev tools work; the command-line interface is installed globally, and the tool itself will be installed in a project.

Now to try it out!

$ cd ~/tmp/new_project
$ intern

You'll need a local install of Intern before you can use this command.
Install it with

  npm install --save-dev intern


Ok, we weren’t quite ready yet. Intern must be locally installed in a project before you can use intern-cli.

$ npm install --save-dev intern
$ intern

  Usage: intern [options] [command]

  Run JavaScript tests


    init [options]    Setup a project for testing with Intern
    run [options]     Run tests in Node or in a browser using WebDriver
    serve [options]   Start a simple web server for running unit tests in a browser on your system


    -h, --help     output usage information
    -v, --verbose  show more information about what Intern is doing
    -V, --version  output the version
    --debug        enable the Node debugger

Better! With no options or commands, intern-cli displays its top-level help menu. It provides three commands: init , run , and serve . The run command is just a convenience for running Intern’s Node.js client or WebDriver runner ( intern-client and intern-runner ). The init and serve commands are new, though.

The init command bootstraps a testing environment for a project. It creates a tests/ directory and populates it with a default test config and example functional and unit tests.

$ intern init

  Intern initialized! A test directory containing example unit and functional
  tests has been created at tests/. See tests/intern.js for configuration options.

  Run the sample unit test with `intern run`.

  To run the sample functional test, first start a WebDriver server (e.g.,
  Selenium), then run `intern run -w`. The functional tests assume chrome is

  Note that running WebDriver tests with Chrome requires ChromeDriver to be
  available in the system path. See

  for more information.

$ tree tests
├── functional
│   ├── hello.js
│   └── page.html
├── intern.js
└── unit
    └── hello.js

At this point we can actually run tests. To do that, use the run command. By default this command will use Intern’s Node.js client. While intern-client and intern-runner require that a test config be specified, intern assumes the test config is at tests/intern.js , so a simple intern run command will suffice:

$ intern run
PASS: hello - hello world (1ms)
0/1 tests failed
0/1 tests failed

That was neat, but what about tests that need a browser? One option is to use Intern’s WebDriver runner by passing a “-w” option to the run command. Assuming a Selenium server is running and Intern is configured to use it, this will tell Intern to start a browser and run unit and functional tests. However, intern-cli provides another option for running unit tests in a browser with its serve command.

Simply running intern serve will start Intern’s test proxy server, which is basically a static web server with some additional functionality, and display a URL that you can open in a browser to run unit tests using Intern’s browser client.

Listening on

  To run unit tests, browse to:


  Press CTRL-C to stop serving.

The serve command also accepts a -o option. When this option is provided, intern-cli will open the default system browser automatically after the server starts. This makes running browser-based unit tests as easy as running tests in the Node.js client.

The initial version of intern-cli was sponsored by Ai Squared . If you or your company find Intern or intern-cli useful, consider supporting ongoing development of these tools with a similar sponsorship to add features and fixes you’d like to see! Just send us an email letting us know of your interest and we’ll set up a call to talk you through the process and what you can expect.


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