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Unit Testing an Ionic2 project

Updated for Ionic 3.4.2 and Angular 4.1.3

This blog and associated project have been around for over a year, since the early days of Ionic 2. Recently, Ionic have brought out an official example repository for unit testing.

So why is this blog still relevant? We spent a lot of time and effort migrating the project over to the example setup. We found that:

  • The repo is not mature and has a number of outstanding issues that make it unsuitable for production
  • It is meant to be a very lightweight example and will have minimal support from Ionic
  • It does not use angular/cli for testing, so lacks community support and resources
  • Ionic are ultimately looking to bake testing support directly into ionic-app-scripts anyway, so the example repo is a stop-gap.

For ~large apps, or anything that needs production support, I recommend this setup. For small / side projects Ionic’s example will probably suffice.

Install dev dependencies

Install the following npm dev dependencies, or simply merge our package.json with your own.

npm install --save-dev @angular/cli @angular/router @types/jasmine @types/node ionic-mocks jasmine-core jasmine-spec-reporter karma karma-chrome-launcher karma-cli karma-jasmine karma-jasmine-html-reporter karma-coverage-istanbul-reporter karma-junit-reporter

Install config files and boilerplate

Into your project’s root:

Into your project’s ./src folder

  • polyfills.ts: Pollyfills used by Angular Cli
  • test.ts: Main entry point for our unit tests. Remove references to ClickerServices as they won’t be applicable to you
  • tsconfig.spec.json: Angular Cli’s compiler config for spec files

For the lazy:

for file in .angular-cli.json karma.conf.js

cd src

for file in polyfills.ts test.ts tsconfig.spec.json

Modify existing Ionic config files:

Add jasmine types in Ionic’s tsconfig.json (only necessary on Windows):

    "typeRoots": [
    "types": [

Add the following line to the scripts object in your package.json (generating code coverage breaks sourcemaps, so we add an explicit option for it):

  "test-coverage": "ng test --code-coverage",
  "test": "ng test"


This file is worth exploring a little further. We’ve created a couple of functions to remove a lot of the boilerplate around an Ionic testbed setup, we’ll be using these in any of our unit tests that create a Angular 2 components.

The following function configureIonicTestingModule takes one or more of your components and sets up an Ionic test bed for them:

  public static configureIonicTestingModule(components: Array<any>): typeof TestBed {
    return TestBed.configureTestingModule({
      declarations: [
      providers: [
        App, Form, Keyboard, DomController, MenuController, NavController,
        {provide: Platform, useFactory: () => PlatformMock.instance()},
        {provide: Config, useFactory: () => ConfigMock.instance()},
        {provide: ClickersService, useClass: ClickersServiceMock},
      imports: [

And this is just a wrapper we’ll call from beforeEach to compile your components:

  public static beforeEachCompiler(components: Array<any>): Promise<{fixture: any, instance: any}> {
    return TestUtils.configureIonicTestingModule(components)
      .compileComponents().then(() => {
        let fixture: any = TestBed.createComponent(components[0]);
        return {
          fixture: fixture,
          instance: fixture.debugElement.componentInstance,

This means that instead of needing the above code in each of your component’s spec files, you simply need:

  beforeEach(async(() => TestUtils.beforeEachCompiler([MyComponent]).then(compiled => {
    fixture = compiled.fixture;
    instance = compiled.instance;

Alternatively, you can write all this inline in your spec files (as opposed to using TestUtils above):

  let fixture = null;
  let instance = null;

  beforeEach(async(() => {

      declarations: [MyComponent],
      providers: [
        App, Platform, Form, Keyboard, MenuController, NavController,
        {provide: Config, useFactory: () => ConfigMock.instance()},
      imports: [
    .compileComponents().then(() => {
      fixture = TestBed.createComponent(MyComponent);
      instance = fixture;

Your first unit test

Pick one of your components to write a test for and create a component-name.spec.ts file for it.

A simple skeleton unit test file looks like this, where HelloIonic is whatever component you’re testing.

import { ComponentFixture, async } from '@angular/core/testing';
import { TestUtils }               from '../../test';
import { HelloIonicPage }          from './hello-ionic';

let fixture: ComponentFixture<HelloIonicPage> = null;
let instance: any = null;

describe('Pages: HelloIonic', () => {

  beforeEach(async(() => TestUtils.beforeEachCompiler([HelloIonicPage]).then(compiled => {
    fixture = compiled.fixture;
    instance = compiled.instance;

  it('should create the hello ionic page', async(() => {

You’ll also need to add ./ to the templateUrl path in your component .ts file:

templateUrl: 'hello-ionic.html' becomes templateUrl: './hello-ionic.html'

Running the tests

npm test

x220:~/code/myApp$ npm test
(node:17800) fs: re-evaluating native module sources is not supported. If you are using the graceful-fs module, please update it to a more recent version.

> ionic-hello-world@ test /home/lathonez/code/myApp
> ng test

30 10 2016 19:12:00.472:WARN [karma]: No captured browser, open http://localhost:9876/
30 10 2016 19:12:00.491:INFO [karma]: Karma v1.3.0 server started at http://localhost:9878/
30 10 2016 19:12:00.491:INFO [launcher]: Launching browser Chrome with unlimited concurrency
30 10 2016 19:12:00.546:INFO [launcher]: Starting browser Chrome
30 10 2016 19:12:01.732:INFO [Chrome 54.0.2840 (Linux 0.0.0)]: Connected on socket /#-CZqilkRyMTyIn1xAAAA with id 84944674

  Pages: HelloIonic
    ✔ should create the hello ionic page

Finished in 0.776 secs / 0.77 secs

✔ 1 test completed

Congrats! You now have unit testing working in your Ionic 2 project.

Test Coverage

This set up outputs lcov coverage to ./coverage in the root folder of your app. If you browse to /path/to/myApp/coverage/lcov-report/ in a web browser, you’ll get an overview of all your tested files. Drill into one and you get line by line info as to what’s covered.

You can also use external tools, I highly recommend codecov.

Debugging Setup

There are a few fiddly steps to get Angular CLI integrated into your Ionic project. If something isn’t working for you, you have missed a step above. This setup works cross platform and is running on a closed source project with 400+ unit tests.

Before raising an issue, please follow these basic steps to debug the setup:

  • check you are on node LTS
  • remove and reinstall node_modules
  • clone a copy of clicker and compare the relevant files with your own using a diff tool (meld)

If you have performed these steps and still have no luck, please raise an issue (see below) - note that we will probably need access to your source code to help out.

Debugging the Tests

Sometimes it’s useful to debug our tests in the Chrome console.

Hit the Debug button and another tab will open. Open the dev console and you can see the output of all your tests, along with any errors which can be debugged as per usual.


Clicker is a work in progress. If you’d like to help out or have any suggestions, check the roadmap sticky.

This blog is on github, if you can improve it, have any suggestions or I’ve failed to keep it up to date, raise an issue or a PR.


If you can’t get any of this working in your own project - follow the Debugging Setup, raise an issue and I’ll do my best to help out.

If you have a general question about unit testing concepts (e.g. how can I write a unit test for some-module), see our General Testing Help thread.

Say “Thanks”

If the clicker project helped you out, show it some love by giving it a star on github <3: