Since I wrote some of the earlier parts of this series (see part 2 and part 3), Create React App has become a little stale. As of right now, a brand new app shows multiple known vulnerabilities on installation:

8 vulnerabilities (2 moderate, 6 high)

To address all issues (including breaking changes), run:
  npm audit fix --force

Run `npm audit` for details.

(this isn't necessarily the problem it might appear, but likely wouldn't happen at all if the dependencies were kept up-to-date) and a warning of imminent breakage on build (spelling error in original):

One of your dependencies, babel-preset-react-app, is importing the
"@babel/plugin-proposal-private-property-in-object" package without
declaring it in its dependencies. This is currently working because
"@babel/plugin-proposal-private-property-in-object" is already in your
node_modules folder for unrelated reasons, but it may break at any time.

babel-preset-react-app is part of the create-react-app project, which
is not maintianed anymore. It is thus unlikely that this bug will
ever be fixed. Add "@babel/plugin-proposal-private-property-in-object" to
your devDependencies to work around this error. This will make this message
go away.

(this is trivially fixable in your generated app, but has been known about for a while and still hasn't been fixed in CRA itself). The last available release, v5.0.1, dates back to April 12th, 2022 (~18 months ago and counting). The new React docs don't even mention CRA. In this context, it might be time to think about moving away from CRA for new projects.

Probably the closest thing to a drop-in equivalent of CRA right now, in terms of offering an opinionated client-side app setup, is Vite. So I thought I'd provide a quick update to show how to get a React app ready for TDD on Vite.

Note that if a pure client-side/"single page" app doesn't meet your needs, there are some recommendations for more complex projects in the official React docs here.

Scaffolding the app [1/5]

Create a new npm package with the Vite React structure using the following command (you can use the react or react-swc templates - there are also equivalents with TypeScript pre-configured if you like):

$ npm create vite@latest test-driven-vite -- --template react
Need to install the following packages:
[email protected]
Ok to proceed? (y) y

Scaffolding project in path/to/test-driven-vite...

Done. Now run:

  cd test-driven-vite
  npm install
  npm run dev

Follow the instructions it gave you:

$ cd test-driven-vite
$ npm install

added 270 packages, and audited 271 packages in 35s

97 packages are looking for funding
  run `npm fund` for details

found 0 vulnerabilities
$ npm run dev

> [email protected] dev
> vite

  VITE v5.0.10  ready in 5289 ms

    Local:   http://localhost:5173/
    Network: use --host to expose
    press h + enter to show help

This is roughly equivalent to scaffolding a new CRA app and running npm start; you should be able to visit the URL and see a basic app page. However, there are a couple of things CRA did for us that create-vite doesn't, so we'll need a few extra steps before we can start test-driving any real functionality.

Creating a git repo [2/5]

Although the template does include a .gitignore file, a git repository is not created by default. If you try checking the status, you can see the directory doesn't contain one:

$ git status
fatal: not a git repository (or any of the parent directories): .git

So let's create a fresh git repo, as we did back in part 1, then commit the files create-vite added for us:

$ git init
Reinitialized existing Git repository in path/to/test-driven-vite/.git/
$ git commit --allow-empty --message 'Initial commit'
[main (root-commit) cf3ac9f] Initial commit
$ git add .
$ git commit --message 'Create Vite app'
[main f9ab178] Create Vite app
 13 files changed, 4264 insertions(+)
 create mode 100644 .eslintrc.cjs
 # ... other files created
 create mode 100644 vite.config.js

Now all of our changes are safely under version control.

Setting up testing [3/5]

Another thing CRA included by default was a test, run with Jest and using React Testing Library to render and select elements. However, we can see that a new Vite app includes no test script at all:

$ npm t
npm ERR! Missing script: "test"
npm ERR!
npm ERR! To see a list of scripts, run:
npm ERR!   npm run

npm ERR! A complete log of this run can be found in: path/to/something.log

As an alternative to Jest, there's Vitest. This test runner uses the same build tooling as Vite, and has API compatibility with Jest (so everything you learned about it, expect, etc. still applies).

So let's install this, as well as JSDOM (which allows the components to be rendered outside of a real browser environment - this was installed as part of jest-environment-jsdom by CRA) and the same Testing Library utilities we've used previously.

$ npm install --save-dev @testing-library/{jest-dom,react,user-event} jsdom vitest

added 129 packages, and audited 400 packages in 1s

124 packages are looking for funding
  run `npm fund` for details

found 0 vulnerabilities

We need a little bit of additional configuration in vite.config.js:

 export default defineConfig({
   plugins: [react()],
+  test: {
+    environment: 'jsdom',
+    globals: true,
+    setupFiles: [
+      '@testing-library/jest-dom',
+    ],
+  },

This will:

  1. Use the JSDOM test environment, to allow browser-based code to work;
  2. Inject some global functions (e.g. describe and it) into the tests, as Jest does; and
  3. Load Testing Library's Jest-DOM selectors (like .toHaveAttribute), so we can make assertions on the rendered elements.

Note instead of using JSDOM (or Happy DOM, which Vitest also supports) to provide a mock browser environment, you could try Vitest's experimental browser mode to run the tests in an actual browser. Here we'll stick with JSDOM for consistency with what we had in CRA.

Finally, let's tell npm we want to use Vitest to run our tests:

$ npm pkg set scripts.test='vitest'

Like Jest, Vitest will fail if you try to run it when there are no actual tests:

$ npm t

> [email protected] test
> vitest

 DEV  v1.0.4 path/to/test-driven-vite

include: **/*.{test,spec}.?(c|m)[jt]s?(x)
exclude:  **/node_modules/**, **/dist/**, **/cypress/**, **/.{idea,git,cache,output,temp}/**, **/{karma,rollup,webpack,vite,vitest,jest,ava,babel,nyc,cypress,tsup,build,eslint,prettier}.config.*
watch exclude:  **/node_modules/**, **/dist/**

No test files found, exiting with code 1

Writing a test [4/5]

So let's create one, in src/App.spec.jsx. Pick some aspect of the page that gets rendered (in this case I've chosen the main heading that's shown) and write a simple test for it:

import { render, screen } from '@testing-library/react'

import App from './App.jsx'

describe('App', () => {
  it('renders a top-level heading', async () => {
    render(<App />)

    expect(screen.getByRole('heading', { level: 1 })).toHaveTextContent('Vite + React')

As you can see, this looks identical to the sort of thing we had in Jest. When we run it, it should pass:

$  npm test

> [email protected] test
> vitest

 DEV  v1.0.4 path/to/test-driven-vite

  src/App.spec.jsx (1)
    App (1)
      renders a top-level heading

 Test Files  1 passed (1)
      Tests  1 passed (1)
   Start at  00:09:12
   Duration  664ms (transform 30ms, setup 89ms, collect 85ms, tests 41ms, environment 277ms, prepare 63ms)

 PASS  Waiting for file changes...
       press h to show help, press q to quit

Note that like the default CRA Jest setup, Vitest enters a watch mode by default. To run the tests once then stop, use npm test -- --run.

Quit the test runner when you're satisfied everything is working, then commit the changes:

$ git add .
$ git status
On branch main
Changes to be committed:
  (use "git restore --staged <file>..." to unstage)
        modified:   package-lock.json
        modified:   package.json
        new file:   src/App.spec.jsx
        modified:   vite.config.js

$ git commit --message 'Add a simple test'
[main 2431a65] Add a simple test
 4 files changed, 1619 insertions(+), 51 deletions(-)
 create mode 100644 src/App.spec.jsx

Exercises [5/5]

This was just a supplement, so the exercise is pretty simple: redo an earlier exercise in the series, using Vite/Vitest instead of CRA/Jest.

Note that you can set up Cypress exactly as you did before - the end-to-end tests don't care what (if any) library or framework you're using to create the page. If you follow the guide from part 3 on creating the e2e:ci "automatic E2E", you don't need to install serve to test the app in production mode; vite preview already does this:

  // ...
  "scripts": {
    // ...
    "e2e:ci": "concurrently --kill-others --success first \"npm:e2e:ci:*\"",
    "pree2e:ci:app": "npm run build",
    "e2e:ci:app": "npm run preview",
    "pree2e:ci:run": "wait-on --log --timeout 60000 http-get://localhost:4173",
    "e2e:ci:run": "cross-env CYPRESS_BASE_URL=http://localhost:4173 npm run e2e",
    // ...
  // ...

To global, or not to global? [Bonus]

By default, Vitest does not inject anything into the global scope. To keep things as similar to Jest as possible, we've overridden this with globals: true above. Alternatively you could choose the more explicit option, and omit globals: true (or explicitly set globals: false) in the configuration. But if you do that, you'll need to make some other adjustments:

  1. Firstly, and most obviously, every test file will have to explicitly import the functions it needs for defining suites, tests and expectations:

    import { describe, expect, it } from 'vitest'
  2. Secondly, the default entrypoint for @testing-library/jest-dom that we used in setupFiles assumes that expect will be provided globally. Now that it won't be, we have to switch to the Vitest-specific entrypoint @testing-library/jest-dom/vitest, which includes an explicit:

    import {expect} from 'vitest'

    before extending expect with its own matchers.

  3. Finally, React Testing Library's automatic application of cleanup only occurs if there's a globally-provided afterEach function for it to hook into. This is explicitly called out in the Vitest migration guide:

    If you decide to keep globals disabled, be aware that common libraries like testing-library will not run auto DOM cleanup.

    Without this, each test is adding more and more elements into the render result, which means your tests can interfere with each other (most likely with error messages about matching more than one element when only one is expected, but even worse a test could incorrectly pass due to something that was rendered by a previous one still hanging around).

We can deal with 2 and 3 simultaneously by changing the configuration to:

   plugins: [react()],
   test: {
     environment: 'jsdom',
-    globals: true,
     setupFiles: [
-      '@testing-library/jest-dom',
+      './src/setupTests.js',

and creating the corresponding src/setupTests.js file containing:

import '@testing-library/jest-dom/vitest'
import { cleanup } from '@testing-library/react'
import { afterEach } from 'vitest'


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