4 Unit Testing Examples: Android, Angular, Node, and React

Oliver Moradov

What Is Unit Testing?

Unit tests are automated tests created by developers to verify that individual components of an application, known as units, are error-free and behave as expected. 

Unit testing is an excellent first step for testing a complex application—developers create unit tests for the smallest testable units, and verify that they are working in isolation. Then they can add integration and acceptance tests to verify that these units are working well together and satisfying user requirements.

A unit can be a function, a procedure, an object, or an entire module. When building unit tests for object-oriented programming (OOP), the unit of testing is typically a complete interface, such as a class or a single method. 

In this article:

Unit Testing Techniques

Structural Unit Testing

Structural testing is a white box testing technique in which a developer designs test cases based on the internal structure of the code, in a white box approach. The approach requires identifying all possible paths through the code. The tester selects test case inputs, executes them, and determines the appropriate output. 

Primary structural testing techniques include:

  • Statement, branch, and path testing—each statement, branch, or path in a program is executed by a test at least once. Statement testing is the most granular option.
  • Conditional testing—allows a developer to selectively determine the path executed by a test, by executing code based on value comparisons.
  • Expression testing—tests the application against different values of a regular expression.

Functional Unit Testing

Functional unit testing is a black box testing technique for testing the functionality of an application component. 

Main functional techniques include:

  • Input domain testing—tests the size and type of input objects and compares objects to equivalence classes.
  • Boundary value analysis—tests are designed to check whether software correctly responds to inputs that go beyond boundary values.
  • Syntax checking—tests that check whether the software correctly interprets input syntax.
  • Equivalent partitioning—a software testing technique that divides the input data of a software unit into data partitions, applying test cases to each partition.

Error-based Techniques

Error-based unit tests should preferably be built by the developers who originally designed the code. Techniques include:

  • Fault seeding—putting known bugs into the code and testing until they are found.
  • Mutation testing—changing certain statements in the source code to see if the test code can detect errors. Mutation tests are expensive to run, especially in very large applications.
  • Historical test data—uses historical information from previous test case executions to calculate the priority of each test case.

Unit Testing Examples

Here are some examples of unit tests in different operating systems.

Unit Tests in Android

You can perform instrumented or local unit tests on Android devices. With instrumented tests, you build and install the app alongside a testing app (these are typically UI tests that launch and interact with the app). Local tests are typically small and focused, running on the host side (e.g., the development server). 

You can build an instrumented test that interacts with the UI on an Android device. For example, you can use a code snippet to click on a “Start” element and verify that it triggers a welcome message element:

// When the Start button is selected

// Then the Hello message appears 

Related content: Read our guide to unit testing in Android (coming soon)

Unit Tests in Angular

Angular unit tests can uncover various issues, including logic flaws and malfunctions, by isolating code snippets. Angular helps you write code to test an application’s functions in isolation. Angular’s main testing utility package is TestBed (the other is async).

You can perform a unit test by running the “beforeEach” block and then running a sequence of other blocks such as “it” or “xit” blocks. The other blocks must follow the “beforeEach” block but are otherwise independent. 

For example, the first block in the “describe” container is always “beforeEach”—you can then run additional blocks to compile components and verify that the system creates the tested component. The second block might demonstrate the accessibility of the component’s properties—only the title property is added by default. 

The following code will reveal if the component’s title remains the same as the title you set:

it(`title should be 'example-unit-test'`, async(() => {
     const fixture = TestBed.createComponent(ExampleComponent);
     const app = fixture.debugElement.componentInstance;

You can use a third block to show how your test behaves in a browser environment. Once you’ve created the testing component, the system calls an instance of your component to simulate how it runs on the browser. You can then access child elements of the rendered component by accessing its nativeElement object:

it('title should render in a h2 tag', async(() => {
   const fixture = TestBed.createComponent(ExampleComponent);
   const compiled = fixture.debugElement.nativeElement;
 expect(compiled.querySelector('h2').textContent).toContain(‘Start example-unit-test');

Related content: Read our guide to unit testing in Angular (coming soon)

Unit Tests in Node.js

You can use the Node.js framework to execute server-side JavaScript. This open source platform supports the Mocha JavaScript testing framework (among others). You can use special Mocha keywords in the test API to indicate that your code is a unit test. For example, describe() indicates a group of test cases (arbitrarily nested), while it() indicates a single unit test.

Here is an example of a simple test suiting containing a single test case, using the Chai assertion library: 

const {describe} = require('mocha');

const chai = require('chai');

describe('Example test suite:', function() {
    it('2 === 2 should be true', function() {
        chai(2 === 2);

The test’s output should confirm the it( function (in this case, 2 === 2 should be true) with a tick and indicate the passing time in milliseconds. You can use any assertion library, including the built-in Assert library (although this is not recommended).

Related content: Read our guide to unit testing in Node.js (coming soon)

Unit Tests in React 

You can use the open source React Native framework to build and test mobile applications. React offers built-in Jest, a JavaScript test framework with a simple unit testing solution. Because Jest is usually pre-installed in most React Native applications, you only need to open the package.json file and set the Jest preset to React.

In this example, you create a sum function adding two numbers—this should be a simple equation where you already know the answer. You import the sum function into the test file under the title ExampleSumTest.js:

const ExampleSum = require('./ExampleSum');

test('ExampleSum equals 4', () => {
      expect(ExampleSum(2, 2).toBe(4);

The output should specify if the test passed, confirming the sum as the expected result, and specifying the passing time in milliseconds:

PASS ./ExampleSumTest.js
✓ ExampleSum equals 4 (5ms)

Related content: Read our guide to unit testing in React (coming soon)

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