Monday, January 30, 2012

Testing a jQuery Plugin with ExpectThat and Mocha

A couple of weeks ago, I announced a CoffeeScript/JavaScript assertion library called ExpectThat. In this post, I'll provide a more real-world example of how ExpectThat can be used. For this example, I'll be using the jQuery plugin and tests from one of Josh Bush's posts entitled "Testing jQuery Plugins with Node.js and Jasmine".

The jQuery plugin

The code that follows is a re-write (in CoffeeScript) of the simple jQuery plugin that Josh provided in his post.

This jQuery plugin provides a basic watermark type of feature for an input box.

The specs

Since Josh has already done the work of writing the specs for this jQuery plugin, all that I need to do is port this to CoffeeScript and add in ExpectThat. To mix things up a bit, I've chosen to use Mocha instead of Jasmine (though ExpectThat works just as well for Jasmine). For simplicity, I've combined the spec files from Josh's post.

Apples to apples 

Here's a quick before and after comparison (with both examples in CoffeeScript):

Before ExpectThat:
    describe "when calling placeholder plugin", ->
      it "should show placeholder value", ->
After ExpectThat:
    describe "when calling placeholder plugin", ->
      expectThat -> input.val().should equal "foo"
Josh's tests are already very readable, but by adding ExpectThat, I'm able to eliminate 1 line from every test and allow each to be self-documenting.

An example of the result of running the specs in the browser is shown below:

Wait, what about Node?

"So", you say, "this is great, but Josh's post was all about using the same code and specs from the browser in Node.js". Ah, yes, thanks for reminding me. It's pretty simple to run these same specs in Node.

Here are the steps:

1. Use NPM to install mocha at a global level (i.e. npm install mocha -g) then install jsdom, jquery, and expectThat.mocha at the local level (i.e. npm install <package name>).

2. Create a file called with the code shown below and compile it however you choose (i.e. "coffee --compile --output lib/ specs/").

3. Run the tests with a command such as "mocha 'lib/runspecs.js' --reporter spec" and you should see something like the following:
In future posts, I'll show how to do similar testing with other tools such as Jasmine-Node and Zombie.js. To learn more about ExpectThat, get involved, and/or keep an eye on its progress, go to

Monday, January 23, 2012

Making F# Windows Phone Development a Little Easier

About a month ago, I announced that most of the existing F# project templates on Visual Studio Gallery had been updated to include support for Visual Studio 11. In that post, I mentioned some new item templates that had been included in the update to the F# XAML Item Templates extension. This post provides a bit more information related to that update.

The F# XAML Item Templates extension was designed to make working with F# + WPF and Silverlight a little eaiser. I provided a brief overview of these features back in June. However, Windows Phone XAML related development was still lacking. The previous approach to adding XAML files was to either create a blank file, change the extension, and manually add the appropriate starting XAML or create the XAML from one of the C# item templates, remove the code-behind files, and tweak the resulting XAML. While neither of these options is extremely time consuming, it can quickly become annoying.

The latest update to this Visual Studio extension reduces this annoyance by providing F# Windows Phone 7 XAML item templates. Once this VSIX is installed, you can add a Windows Phone 7 XAML file by doing the following:

1. In a Windows Phone F# project, proceed with adding a new item as you normally would (i.e. Ctrl+Shift+A).

2. The resulting wizard (shown below) includes several new item templates starting with "F#..." that match the C# versions, but that do not generate C# code-behind files. 

While you still have to write the small amount of F# code to wire this up, it makes life a little bit easier.

Monday, January 16, 2012

developerFusion Article: An Introduction to FSharpx

My article entitled "An Introduction to FSharpx" was published a few days ago. You can find it at

As mentioned in the article, FSharpx is continually evolving and several new features have been added since I submitted this article. Be sure to head over to the FSharpx GitHub site to see what's new.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Introducing ExpectThat: A CoffeeScript Assertion Library

I'm a big fan of automated testing. In fact, on the rare occasions that I don't write tests, I find that I can't shake the thought that something has been missed.

As with all aspects of my coding efforts, I am constantly looking for ways to improve the process, make tests more readable, and reduce room for error. With these goals in mind, I'd like to introduce ExpectThat.

What is ExpectThat?

ExpectThat is an expressive, self-documenting, assertion library for CoffeeScript, that seeks to improve testing efforts with your favorite testing framework. It does this by providing a syntax similar to FsUnit (a library for F#) that makes assertions more readable and then automatically translates that readable code into descriptive test output. This ensures that your test names always stay in sync with your tests and allows your code to speak for itself. ExpectThat currently supports Pavlov, QUnit, and Jasmine. Overtime, support for additional testing frameworks will be added.

Let's See it in Action

The following example shows how to write tests with ExpectThat for Pavlov in CoffeeScript:
pavlov.specify "Example Specifications", ->
    foo = "bar"
    describe "When testing 'should equal'", ->
        expectThat -> foo.should equal "bar"
    describe "When testing 'shouldnt equal'", ->
        expectThat -> foo.shouldnt equal "baz"
    describe "When testing for 'true'", ->
        expectThat -> (foo is "bar").should be true
        expectThat -> (foo is "baz").shouldnt be true
    describe "When testing for 'false'", ->
        expectThat -> (foo is "baz").should be false
        expectThat -> (foo is "bar").shouldnt be false
    describe "When testing 'greater than'", ->
        expectThat -> (9.1).should be greaterThan 9
        expectThat -> (9.1).shouldnt be greaterThan 10
        expectThat -> 10.shouldnt be greaterThan 10
Here's a screenshot of the result:
Other Testing Frameworks

As I mentioned, ExpectThat currently supports QUnit and Jasmine in addition to Pavlov. The following are examples for each of these.

module "Example QUnit Specifications"

foo = "bar"

module "When testing should equal"

expectThat -> foo.should equal "bar"

module "When testing shouldnt equal"

expectThat -> foo.shouldnt equal "baz"

module "When testing for true"

expectThat -> (foo is "bar").should be true
expectThat -> (foo is "baz").shouldnt be true

module "When testing for false"

expectThat -> (foo is "baz").should be false
expectThat -> (foo is "bar").shouldnt be false
describe "Example Jasmine Specifications", ->
    foo = "bar"
    describe "When testing should equal", ->
        expectThat -> foo.should equal "bar"
    describe "When testing shouldnt equal", ->
        expectThat -> foo.shouldnt equal "baz"
    describe "When testing for throw", ->
        expectThat -> (-> throw "test exception").should throwException
        expectThat -> (-> throw "test").should throwException "test"
    describe "When testing for less than", ->
        expectThat -> 10.should be lessThan 11
        expectThat -> (10.1).shouldnt be lessThan 10
Getting Started with ExpectThat

There are a couple of ways to get started with ExpectThat. First, head over to the ExpectThat GitHub site and browse through the documentation. You can then clone the repo and grab any of the examples from the example folder. If you are writing an ASP.NET app in Visual Studio, another option is to install one of the available NuGet packages.

Available Assertions

ExpectThat currently provides the following assertions:

- equal
- stictlyEqual
- false
- true
- greaterThan
- greaterThanOrEqual
- lessThan
- lessThanOrEqual
- throwException
- 'to' and 'be' can be used in most cases to make tests more readable.

In addition to the out-of-the-box assertions, ExpectThat allows for the creation of custom assertions. Examples of this for each of the supported testing frameworks are available in the example folder on GitHub.

ExpectThat in JavaScript

While the syntax of ExpectThat works best with CoffeeScript, you can certainly use it in JavaScript as well. Simply add in the missing braces, parens, semi-colons, function keywords, etc. The following provides a simple example for Pavlov:
pavlov.specify("expectThat Specifications", function() {
    describe("When testing should equal", function() {
        var foo = "bar";
        expectThat(function() {
        expectThat(function() {
            (foo + "test").should(equal("bartest"));
Getting Involved

There are a lot of things left to do for ExpectThat and I'd love to hear your thoughts on direction, enhancements, etc. as well as have any help that anyone would like to offer. If you want to get involved, fork me on GitHub.