React JS

Testing React App with Jest and React Testing Library (RTL)

April 12, 2024
14 min
Testing React App with Jest and RTL

In the dynamic landscape of web development, one thing is certain – robust and reliable applications are non-negotiable. This is where the practice of testing comes into play, ensuring that your React applications stand the test of time. Among the many tools available for testing React applications, Jest and React Testing Library (RTL) have emerged as powerful allies for developers. This comprehensive guide takes you on a journey through testing with Jest and RTL, exploring every aspect of this indispensable practice.

Quick Takeaways:

  • Testing is crucial in the development of reliable and robust React applications, enhancing user satisfaction and instilling confidence in the code's quality.
  • There are two vital React testing tools: Jest, known for its versatility, and React Testing Library (RTL), a specialized library that prioritizes user-centric testing.
  • This guidance assists readers in evaluating different testing tools, highlighting their respective strengths and weaknesses. Informed choices can be made based on project requirements, team expertise, and personal preferences. The role of Code Walnut in providing support is emphasized.

Understanding Testing: Defining the Concept of Testing

Before diving into the world of testing React applications, it's essential to grasp the fundamental concept of testing. In the fast-paced realm of web development, testing is the process of systematically evaluating your applications to ensure they function as intended. Testing safeguards against errors enhances user experience, and ultimately boosts your confidence in your code.

Introduction to React Testing: An Overview of React and React Testing Library

As we step into the world of React testing, it's essential to set the stage with a clear understanding of the key players in this arena. We'll begin our journey by exploring React Testing Library (RTL) and its partner in crime, Jest. These two tools are the pillars upon which we build our strategy for testing React applications.

What is Jest?

At the heart of React testing lies Jest, a widely adopted testing framework renowned for its versatility and reliability. Jest stands as the bedrock of React testing, offering a comprehensive suite of testing tools meticulously tailored for JavaScript applications. What sets Jest apart is its unwavering commitment to simplifying the testing process. It's designed not just to verify that your code works but to reassure you that it behaves exactly as you intended.

Jest boasts an array of powerful features that make it a powerhouse tool for developers. It equips you with built-in mocking, assertion utilities, and asynchronous testing capabilities. This test runner is not only known for its performance but also for its ease of use, making it a beloved tool in the world of React.

What is React Testing Library?

While Jest handles the broader spectrum of testing, React Testing Library, often referred to as RTL, steps into a more specialized role. RTL is designed explicitly for testing React components. What makes this tool unique is its unwavering focus on the user's perspective. Unlike other testing frameworks, RTL shifts the lens from the developer's viewpoint to the user's, emphasizing the testing of user interactions and component behaviors.

RTL ensures that your React components do more than merely work; they deliver the desired user experience. It's a potent tool for validating that your React applications not only meet their technical requirements but also excel in satisfying the end-users. With RTL in your toolkit, you're empowered to capture the essence of what it means to interact with your application, uncovering any potential pitfalls or hiccups in user experience.

Comparing Tools: React Testing Library vs. Jest

In our quest for effective testing, we must understand the distinctions between React Testing Library and Jest. These two tools, while serving a common purpose, possess complementary and distinct characteristics. Both have their places in the developer's toolkit and understanding when to leverage each is pivotal to the testing process.

While Jest is a comprehensive testing framework that covers a broader spectrum of testing, RTL excels at component-level testing with a distinctive focus on user behavior. Jest is the robust workhorse that handles tasks ranging from unit testing to asynchronous operations, making it an indispensable asset for verifying your code's functionality.

On the other hand, RTL, with its user-centric approach, brings the spotlight to the interactions and experiences that your application offers. It excels at providing a clear perspective on how users will engage with your components. The choice between the two depends on your specific testing needs. We'll delve into when to use each tool effectively, ensuring you make the right choice at the right time.

Preparing Your Testing Environment: Setting up the Essential Tools and Environment

Before embarking on your testing journey, it's crucial to have your testing environment prepared. This entails configuring the essential tools and settings and making sure your workspace is optimally equipped for testing with Jest and RTL. Fortunately, getting started with these tools is a straightforward process, and we'll guide you through the necessary setup steps. With the right environment in place, you'll be well-prepared to ensure that your React applications not only meet but exceed their intended goals.

Creating a Testable React Application: Constructing a React Application Optimized for Testing

A significant part of effective testing begins with constructing a testable React application. An application that's structured with testing in mind makes the entire process more efficient and effective. We'll explore the best practices for building a React application that's optimized for testing, ensuring that you can thoroughly examine every nook and cranny of your codebase. A well-structured application is the foundation upon which successful testing is built.

Writing Your First Test: Guiding You Through Building an Initial Unit Test

The best way to learn is by doing, and that principle holds true in the world of React testing. In this section, we'll provide hands-on guidance, walking you through the process of creating your very first unit test using Jest and RTL. You'll gain theoretical insights and practical experience in testing React components, setting you on the path to becoming a proficient tester.

Testing React Components: A Comprehensive Exploration of Testing Components with Jest

Testing React components is an integral part of application validation. It's where the rubber meets the road, and we'll dive deep into this domain. This comprehensive exploration will cover various facets of component testing, from the basics of rendering and user interactions to handling complex components and monitoring state changes. By the time you complete this section, you'll possess a thorough testing toolkit to ensure your React components meet their intended objectives.

Harnessing the Power of Mocking: Leveraging Mocking Techniques with React and Jest

Mocking is a fundamental technique in the testing world, and it's crucial to understand how to wield it effectively in React applications. Mocks are essentially stand-ins for external dependencies, enabling you to isolate the component you're testing. By mastering the art of mocking with React and Jest, you can create a controlled testing environment, where you're free to scrutinize your components in isolation. This is the key to pinpointing issues, ensuring that the behavior you're testing is genuinely tied to the component and not influenced by external factors.

Capturing Snapshots: Snapshot Testing and Its Significance

Snapshot testing is a distinctive feature offered by Jest, and its significance cannot be overstated. It's a valuable tool for ensuring the consistency of your application's visual output. With snapshot testing, you can capture a component's state and compare it to a previously stored snapshot. This technique is particularly useful for identifying unintended changes in your application's user interface. It's the fail-safe mechanism that ensures your application's user experience remains intact, even as you make code changes.

Choosing the Right Library: Evaluating the Pros and Cons of Different Testing Libraries for React

With several testing libraries available, choosing the right one for your project is a significant decision. We'll weigh the pros and cons of different options, including Jest, Enzyme, React Testing Library, Jasmine, and Mocha. This comparative analysis will assist you in making an informed choice tailored to your testing requirements.

Data and statistics

According to the 2023 State of React survey, the most popular testing libraries for React are:

  • Jest (82%)
  • Enzyme (73%)
  • React Testing Library (70%)
  • Jasmine (58%)
  • Mocha (47%)


Jest stands out as the de facto testing framework for React applications. It offers a comprehensive suite of tools, including built-in mocking, assertion utilities, and asynchronous testing capabilities. As a test runner, Jest is renowned for its performance and ease of use.


  1. Fast: Jest is known for its speed and efficiency. It can swiftly run a battery of tests, making it a preferred choice for projects where time is of the essence.
  2. Easy to Use: With a user-friendly interface and straightforward setup, Jest is accessible to developers of various skill levels.
  3. Wide Range of Features: It boasts a comprehensive suite of features, making it suitable for a variety of testing needs.
  4. Built-in Mocking: Jest provides built-in mocking capabilities, simplifying the process of isolating components for testing.
  5. Assertion Utilities: It offers a robust set of assertion utilities to validate expected outcomes.
  6. Asynchronous Testing Capabilities: Jest handles asynchronous code gracefully, ensuring thorough testing of asynchronous operations.


  1. Can Be Difficult to Debug: Debugging can be challenging in some scenarios, which might require additional effort to pinpoint issues.
  2. Not as Well-Suited for Testing Complex Components: Jest may not be the ideal choice for projects with highly complex components that demand specialized testing.


Enzyme is a popular testing library known for its compatibility with various testing frameworks, including Mocha, Jasmine, and Chai. It excels in component testing and supports different rendering methods, making it a versatile choice for developers.


  1. Good for Testing Complex Components: Enzyme shines when it comes to testing intricate or multifaceted components.
  2. Allows You to Render Components in Isolation: It enables you to render components independently, providing a controlled environment for testing.
  3. Access Internal Component State: Enzyme grants access to the internal state of components, facilitating more in-depth testing.
  4. Compatible with Various Testing Frameworks: Enzyme plays well with different testing frameworks, enhancing its versatility.


  1. Can Be Difficult to Learn and Use: The learning curve for Enzyme can be steep, requiring time and effort to master.
  2. Not as Well-Suited for Testing User Interactions: Enzyme may not be the first choice when testing user interactions is the primary focus.

React Testing Library

React Testing Library (RTL) focuses on user-centric testing. It encourages testing from the user's perspective, emphasizing interactions and behaviors. This library is known for its simplicity and alignment with best testing practices.


  1. Easy to Use: React Testing Library stands out for its simplicity, making it a top choice for those new to testing.
  2. Aligned with Best Testing Practices: It follows best testing practices, promoting maintainable and reliable tests.
  3. Focuses on User-Centric Testing: RTL emphasizes user-centric testing, ensuring that components behave as expected from a user's perspective.
  4. Good for Testing Interactions and Behaviors: It excels in testing user interactions and component behaviors, enhancing the user experience.


  1. Not as Well-Suited for Testing Complex Components: Projects with highly complex components may find RTL's feature set somewhat limited.
  2. Limited Features Compared to Other Testing Libraries: In comparison to some other libraries, RTL may have fewer advanced features.


Jasmine is a versatile testing framework with an expressive syntax. It's suitable for testing JavaScript applications, including React projects. Jasmine provides a range of features for test-driven development and behavior-driven development.


  1. Expressive Syntax: Jasmine offers an expressive syntax that enhances test readability and comprehension.
  2. Easy to Use: It provides a user-friendly testing environment for both JavaScript applications and React projects.
  3. Suitable for Test-Driven Development and Behavior-Driven Development: Jasmine supports both test-driven development (TDD) and behavior-driven development (BDD), accommodating diverse testing approaches.


  1. Not as Feature-Rich as Other Testing Libraries: Jasmine might not be as feature-rich as some other testing libraries, potentially requiring additional libraries or configurations.
  2. Can Be Difficult to Debug: Debugging may be challenging in certain scenarios, necessitating extra effort to identify and resolve issues.


Mocha is a flexible testing framework that works seamlessly with React applications. It offers a robust testing environment and supports various assertion libraries, making it a top choice for developers who appreciate customization.


  1. Flexible: Mocha offers flexibility in terms of configurations and integration with various assertion libraries.
  2. Supports a Wide Range of Assertion Libraries: It supports multiple assertion libraries, allowing you to choose the one that best suits your preferences.
  3. Good for Testing React Applications: Mocha is well-suited for testing React applications, ensuring your components function as intended.


  1. Not as Easy to Use as Other Testing Libraries: Mocha's flexibility can also make it slightly more complex to set up and use compared to some user-friendly alternatives.
  2. Can Be Difficult to Debug: Debugging may present challenges in certain situations, demanding extra attention to identify and fix problems.

Choosing the right testing library for your React project depends on several factors. It's essential to consider your specific needs, your team's expertise, and your project's unique demands. If you're new to testing React applications and want a flexible and user-friendly solution, Jest is a great choice. It comes with a wide range of features and an extensive utility repertoire, making it an attractive option. Jest is ideal for those looking to learn how to test React applications and need a testing utility.

On the other hand, if your project involves intricate components requiring isolation and access to internal states for thorough testing, Enzyme is invaluable. Enzyme provides implementation details and allows you to write tests for individual React components, ensuring you can capture and simulate specific interactions.

For developers who prioritize user-centric testing and interaction validation, React Testing Library is a top pick. It encourages you to test your React application in a way that closely resembles how an actual user would interact with it. However, it's worth noting that RTL might have limitations when dealing with highly complex components that demand comprehensive testing.

Ultimately, your choice should align with your project's goals and your personal preferences. Consider your team's familiarity with a particular library, your project's specific requirements, and your comfort level with the chosen testing framework. Your selection will significantly impact the quality and reliability of your React applications.

When it comes to securing the best testing solution for your React project, Code Walnut is here to provide guidance and support. Our team of experts is well-versed in React and its testing methodologies. We understand the implementation details and how to find elements within your React application using libraries like Jest and React Testing Library. We can offer tailored advice and implementation support, ensuring your React applications are robust, reliable, and meet the expectations of both you and your users. By aligning your specific needs with our expertise, you can have confidence that your application will deliver a high-quality user experience. Your choice of a testing library, combined with our knowledge, can pave the way for exceptional React development outcomes. Choose wisely, and know that Code Walnut is by your side every step of the way, providing the utility you need to write tests that resemble user interactions and interact with elements effectively.

Disclaimer: This article outline is created by Humans, content is written by AI and the final article is reviewed & edited by a CodeWalnut engineer.
Next-JS Logo
Kickstart your
React JS

Experience coding prowess firsthand. Choose CodeWalnut to build a prototype within a week and make your choice with confidence.

Book a Meeting
Vercel Logo
Kickstart your
React JS

Accelerate your web app vision with CodeWalnut. In just a week, we'll shape your idea into a polished prototype, powered by Vercel. Ready to make it real? Choose us with confidence!

Book a Meeting
Heroku Logo
Kickstart your

Dreaming of a powerful web app on Heroku? Let CodeWalnut bring it to life in just one week. Take the leap and trust us to deliver with confidence!

Book a Meeting

Related posts

Partner with CodeWalnut to drive your digital growth!
Tell us about yourself and we will show you how technology can help drive business growth.
Thank you for your interest in CodeWalnut.Our digital expert will reach you within 24-48 hours.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.