Getting started with Cypress - a modern frontend testing framework

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Getting started with Cypress - a modern frontend testing framework

Cypress is a new, open source integration test runner for modern JS applications (its development is sponsored by their online dashboard that allows you to record test-runs). It doesn’t require setting up Selenium, or other browser plugin, manually. Add it to your package.json and everything you need will be set up:

npm install cypress --save-dev

You can open even a GUI using:

./node_modules/.bin/cypress open

Alternatively, you can run the tests headless using the run command:

./node_modules/.bin/cypress run

Running the test will leave you with video recordings of what has been happening visually on the frontend for further review.

Ok. All nice, but you're right, these are tests running against a locally run server. So let's move the examples directory out of scope of the test runner:

mv cypress/integration/examples cypress/integration-examples

*(when exploring a new framework, I typically like …

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Really concise guide to package.json scripts

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Being unable to find a really concise description at a stable endpoint, the "scripts"-section of package.json, central to node/npm/yarn/euh. JavaScript-development these days, here it is.

The package.json is a json file which typically contains things like version and name of a project, the typical metadata. It also contains the dependencies of a project. But this is about the scripts-section. Completely optional, but so convenient that typically your project has one already:

{
  "name": "hello world",
  "version": "0.0.1",
  "main": "index.js",
  "scripts": {
  }
}

The "scripts"-section contains snippets of code that you typically run using npm or yarn:

So let's say you're typing git add . && git commit -m "wip" && git push a lot (totally not recommended), you could do:

{
  "name": "hello world",
  "version": "0.0.1",
  "main": "index.js",
  "scripts": {
    "wipitup": "git add . && ...

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The `matches` operation

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I’m slowly migrating projects away from jQuery. It has served me really well in the past, and it still works, but it is no longer necessary. One of the few things that have been bothering me though was the lack of ‘live’-attaching of EventListeners. jQuery allows you to bind an onsubmit event listener to any , evens that haven’t been added to the DOM yet. It used to be called live() (from version 1.3 to 1.9), but the functionality was later reintroduced with on(). You would bind the event listener not to a `` directly, but to a container (up to document).

$(document).on('click', 'p.alert', function(e){ 
  confirm("Did you read this carefully?"); }
);

Moving away from jQuery, we use the ‘standard’ addEventListener(): but it has no easy way of delegating the events.

Introducing matches

Element.querySelector(".CSS.selector.here") is probably quite well known by know, but I was …

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JavaScript & Rails: a `webpacker` evaluation

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Webpacker is still opt-in for new Rails projects. But this might change. The JavaScript ecosystem is moving fast and new JavaScript frameworks are pushing customer’s expectations to higher levels. To use these frameworks with your Rails app, you had a few options:

  • Include the JavaScript manually; which requires you to manually copy the files in place
  • Use a gem-wrapper to to install the JavaScript library; but this required quite some maintenance on the Gem-author’s side.
  • Try to mangle npm or yarn into the asset pipeline yourself
  • Use Rails Assets (an automagic Gem-wrapper)

A small praise for Rails Assets

I have been using rails-assets.org the past few years to keep my JavaScript dependencies up to date. It thought it was smart solution; instead of requiring individual developers to maintain Gem-wrappers, Gem wrappers are created on the fly by RailsAssets.org. It was smart and light weight on the developers side and worked perfectly with the Rails' Asset p…

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Developing Keycloak templates with Docker

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I haven't had much need for isolating services, something that Docker is really good at. Most dependencies of my Rails apps are covered by Gemfile anyway (and packages.json for JavaScript) and reasonably isolated with rbenv. I don't experience version related issues very often, as I try to stay reasonably up to date and not rely too much on the very state of the art. For temporary projects, however, Docker is a great solution, even for me :o I don’t want an entire JBoss suite running on my machine, so when I had to develop a Keycloak template I knew that Docker would be the right tool. While I’m going to discuss the specifics of getting started with a Keycloak image, the workflow described is replaceable by any other.

So what about Keycloak? Keycloak is a role based authorization and authentication tool …

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Unit-testing your front-end code in a Rails project: Yarn, Tape & Rails

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I like Rails, but one thing that Rails falls short in is Javascript dependency management.

While Rails Assets, a proxy that allows for listing Bower packages in your Gemfile makes managing front-end libraries good enough for most front-end work, RailsAssets itself is mainly addressing asset management; it doesn’t allow for integrated management of additional development tools and binaries, useful for e.g. JavaScript-testing (besides the fact that Bower is kind of considered to be deprecated these days).

There are different ways of bundling Javascript, but since Rails 5.1, yarn is the defacto choice for Rails.

Installing Yarn

You can install yarn either trough npm npm install -g yarn, or if you’re on a mac, using homebrew: brew install yarn. I chose the latter.

To prepare your rails project run rails yarn:install.

Add tape for testing JavaScript & Coffeescript

There are [different testing fram…

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Should I use React or Angular?

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To put it in some context: these days recruiters call you whether you know this or that framework. Well not really, really well. But it is just JavaScript. Or ECMAScript (or a flavour of it by Microsoft called TypeScript). But above all it is just a tool to get stuff done. Not every job needs a bulldozer. And besides the bulldozers React and Angular there is Vue.js and plenty more. Choose your tools wisely.

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Try not using Javascript first

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My guiding principle in web-development is (still): Always make things work without (client side) JavaScript first.

Aside from offering a graceful degradation of the experience by progressively enhancing it leads to better code. Three reasons why:

  1. it forces you as a developer to think about logical endpoints for your form submits, your data requests etc. Typically this leads to fewer cases of overloading a resource with all kinds of unrelated functionality (yep, I'm a big REST-first advocate).
  2. your application will probably be more web-native, and hence more future proof, more easily cache-able, etc.
  3. the front-end JavaScript to enrich the experience will typically also be less complex and can be generalized more easily.

Yes, I do shiver when I hear things like CSS in JS, KISS!

Photo by [Dmitry Baranovskiy](https://www.flickr.com/photos/dmitry-baranovsk…

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Making block elements link

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There is no standard way of linking block elements to pages in HTML. But sometimes you do need it. The <a>-element doesn't support any block elements inside (such as <div> etc.). I solve the problem with a jQuery snippet that allows me to simply add 'js_blocklink' to a block elements class and the jQuery code deals with the rest. It does assume that the first link is the 'main link' (also needed for graceful degradation when Javascript for some reason is not available). A bonus feature is that other links may still exist, and stay working. function enableJsBlockLinks() {     $(".js_blocklink").each(function() {         $(this).click(function() {             $(this).find("a").each(function(index) {                 a = $(this).attr("href");                 if (a…

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