How To Use Mocha With Node.js For Test-Driven Development to Avoid Pain and Ship Products Faster

Test-driven development (TDD) , as many of you might know, is one of the main, agile development techniques. The genius of TDD lies in increased quality of code, faster development resulting from greater programmer confidence, and improved bug detection (duh!).

Historically, web apps have been hard to autotest, and developers relied heavily on manual testing. But, certain parts such as standalone services and REST API can be and should be tested thoroughly by the TDD. At the same time, rich user interface (UI) / user experience (UX) can be tested with headless browsers such as PhantomJS.

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URL Parameters and Routing in Express.js

TL;DR: This post is about URL parameters and routing in Express.js, and it’s an excerpt (Chapter 6) from my new book Pro Express.js: Master Express.js—The Node.js Framework For Your Web Development. The book was released this week (~December 24, 2014), but we have a great limited-time offer for you which will be announced on Sunday, December 28, 2014 on Webapplog.com. This post is the last post in the series of excerpts from Pro Express.js with other posts as follow: Error Handling and Running an Express.js App, Express.js Security Tips, LoopBack 101: Express.js on Steroids, Sails.js 101 and Secret Express.js Settings.

To review, the typical structure of an Express.js app fig(which is usually a server.js or app.js file) roughly consists of these parts, in the order shown:

  1. Dependencies : A set of statements to import dependencies

  2. Instantiations : A set of statements to create objects

  3. Configurations : A set of statements to configure system and custom settings

  4. Middleware : A set of statements that is executed for every incoming request

  5. Routes : A set of statements that defines server routes, endpoints, and pages

  6. Bootup : A set of statements that starts the server and makes it listen on a specific port for incoming requests

This chapter covers the fifth category, routes and the URL parameters that we define in routes. These parameters, along with the app.param() middleware, are essential because they allow the application to access information passed from the client in the URLs (e.g., books/proexpressjs). This is the most common convention for REST APIs. For example, the http://hackhall.com/api/posts/521eb002d00c970200000003 route will use the value of 521eb002d00c970200000003 as the post ID.

Parameters are values passed in a query string of a URL of the request. If we didn’t have Express.js or a similar library, and had to use just the core Node.js modules, we’d have to extract parameters from an HTTP.request object via some require('querystring').parse(url) or require('url').parse(url, true) function “trickery.”

Let’s look closer at how to define a certain rule or logic for a particular URL parameter.

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Error Handling and Running an Express.js App

TL;DR: This text is an excerpt (Chapter 9) from Pro Express.js: Master Express.js—The Node.js Framework For Your Web Development. The book will be released next week (December 24, 2014), and we’ll announce a great limited-time offer on it on Sunday, December 28, 2014. So stay tuned… and happy Holidays!!!

Good web applications must have informative error messages to notify clients exactly why their request has failed. Errors might be caused either by the client (e.g., wrong input data) or by the server (e.g., a bug in the code).

The client might be a browser, in which case the application should display an HTML page. For example, a 404 page should display when the requested resource is not found. Or the client might be another application consuming our resources via the REST API. In this case, the application should send the appropriate HTTP status code and the message in the JSON format (or XML or another format that is supported). For these reasons, it’s always the best practice to customize error-handling code when developing a serious application.

In a typical Express.js application, error handlers follow the routes. Error handling deserves its own section of the book because it’s different from other middleware. After the error handlers, we’ll cover the Express.js application methods and ways to start the Express.js app. Therefore, the major topics of this chapter are as follows:

  • Error handling
  • Running an app

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LoopBack 101: Express.js on Steroids

LoopBack is a comprehensive Node.js web framework with a rich command-line scaffolding and a web API explorer: strongloop.com/node-js/loopback. The framework is maintained by StrongLoop which is also the gate-keeper of Express.js.

This concise tutorial will illustrate how to get started with LoopBack and the common traits between LoopBack and Express.js. This text is from my new book Pro Express.js by Apress which you can already start reading in Apress Alpha or pre-order on Amazon.com and other bookstores.

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Secret Express.js Settings

Express.js is one of the top Node.js frameworks out there. It was used in the overwhelming majority of projects that I’ve encountered since I began working with Node.js in 2011. One of the main selling points and key differentiators is the framework’s configurability. However, while writing Express.js Guide and Pro Express.js, I discovered a few secret settings never mentioned in their documentation.

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Time to Up Your Node.js Skills

Are you a software engineer who wants to master an effective and fun-to-use, new platform Node.js? Is your goal to stay on top of the curve with cutting-edge technology, and to stay ahead of the competitive software engineering industry by delivering high quality products faster?

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MongoUI: Real-Time MongoDB Admin Web Interface (a la phpMyAdmin in Node.js)

MongoUI is a real-time web interface for Node.js and MongoDB written with DerbyJS—a real-time full-stack web framework. It’s a app that can be run locally and on the server. Similarly, you can view and manipulate data in a local or remote database. The MongoUI project is in beta so use caution, and please contribute your feedback.

MongoUI on NPM: https://www.npmjs.org/package/mongoui

MongoUI on GitHub: https://github.com/azat-co/mongoui

MongoUI description (this page): http://webapplog.com/mongoui

MongoUI features include:

  • Switch databases and collections
  • Search by field value (string, number, ObjectId)
  • Save search / filter results as a bookmark (each URL has a query)
  • Edit any fields’ values in a real-time editor
  • Get raw JSON objects

Here’s a one-and-a-half-minute video that shows filtering, editing, and switching collections:

Direct link to the YouTube video: http://youtu.be/l8Rfpow0f9A.

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Introduction to OAuth with Node.js and Online Subscription—RELEASED!

The much-needed Introduction to OAuth with Node.js mini-book is released!

Introduction to OAuth with Node.js
Introduction to OAuth with Node.js: Twitter API OAuth 1.0, OAuth 2.0, OAuth Echo, Everyauth and OAuth 2.0 Server Examples

Get your PDF, EPUB, MOBI copy here –> gum.co/hRyc
or sign up for Node.js and JavaScript Mastery Online here.

The online bundle has five (5!) books. Here’s the list of available books. It’s a $50+ value for only $4.87/mo.

Node.js and JavaScript Mastery Online: Colored code examples—paste into your projects!
Node.js and JavaScript Mastery Online: Colored code examples—paste into your projects!

If you read all the books in less than a month—great! Just cancel the subscription. But most readers prefer to keep it just so they have a handy reference when they need it.

The Introduction to OAuth book includes:

  • OAuth 1.0
  • OAuth Echo
  • OAuth 2.0
  • OAuth 1.0 Sign in with Everyauth
  • OAuth 2.0 Server

A typical modern web applications has to communicate with other services. Even if it’s your own service or application. This is usually done via an open standard for authorization or OAuth. Therefore, the ability to use OAuth in your work is paramount!

There are standards, specifications and fancy diagrams, and it’s useful to read them as the first step. However, developers often need hands-on experience to acquire the full understanding and confidence.

Introduction to OAuth in Node.js is a concise practical book that will help you to get started with OAuth 1.0, 2.0, Echo and implement a Sign in with Node.js using Twitter API (and hopefully any other) authentication.

We’ll go through the three main authentication methods utilizing minimalistic oauth module to explain basics, then use extensive everyauth with an Express.js app.

Get your PDF, EPUB, MOBI copy here –> gum.co/hRyc
or sign up for Node.js and JavaScript Mastery Online here.

Seven Things You Should Stop Doing with Node.js

Inspired by 5 Things You Should Stop Doing With jQuery by Burke Holland, I decided to open a discussion and highlight seven things you should immediately stop doing with Node.js:

  1. Stop using callbacks
  2. Stop using * for versions
  3. Stop using console.log for debugging
  4. Stop using GET and POST for everything
  5. Stop using semicolons
  6. Stop using comma-first style
  7. Stop limiting your connections with default maxSockets value

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CoffeeScript FUNdamentals: The Better JavaScript

Disclaimer: This text is a part of the JavaScript and Node FUNdamentals: A Collection of Essential Basics ebook which is available now for free. However, upon the book’s completion it’ll be priced at $2.99. The book is 80% done as of this writing. The formats available: PDF, EPUB and Kindle. If you would like to participate in the writing process by providing your feedback and future topics, fill this short Future Topics and Feedback form.

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Migrating Express.js 3.x to 4.x: Middleware, Route and Other Changes

Express.js 4 is the latest (as of May 2014) version of the most popular mature and robust Node.js framework for web apps, services and APIs. There are some breaking changes going from 3.x to 4.x, so here’s a brief migration guide:

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Express.js 4, Node.js and MongoDB REST API Tutorial

Usually good things don’t stay the same, so our tutorial on building a JSON REST API server with Node.js and MongoDB using Mongoskin and Express.js, and testing it with Mocha and Superagent, has became a bit outdated with the new Express.js 4 version release. Here’s a brand new, revisited tutorial for Express.js 4, Node.js and MongoDB (Mongoskin) free-JSON RESTful API server.

The code for this new tutorial is available at github.com/azat-co/rest-api-express (master branch). The old tutorial’s code for Express 3.x, is still working and in the express3 branch.

Express.js 4 and MongoDB REST API Tutorial consists of these parts:

  1. Node.js and MongoDB REST API Overview
  2. REST API Tests with Mocha and Superagent
  3. NPM-ing Node.js Server Dependencies
  4. Express.js 4.x Middleware Caveat
  5. Express.js and MongoDB (Mongoskin) Implementation
  6. Running The Express.js 4 App and Testing MongoDB Data with Mocha
  7. Conclusion and Further Express.js and Node.js Reading

Instead of TL;DR:

If you’re only interested in a working code from the repository and know what to do, here are brief instructions on how to download and run the REST API server:

$ git clone git@github.com:azat-co/rest-api-express.git
$ npm install
$ node express.js

Start MongoDB with $ mongod. Then, in a new terminal window run the Mocha tests:

$ mocha express.test.js

Or, if you don’t have mocha installed globally:

$ ./node_modules/mocha/bin/mocha express.test.js

Node.js and MongoDB REST API Overview

This Node.js, Express.js and MongoDB (Mongoskin) tutorial will walk you through writing the test using the Mocha and Super Agent libraries. This is needed for a test-driven development building of a Node.js free JSON REST API server.

The server application itself will utilize Express.js 4.x framework and Mongoskin library for MongoDB. In this REST API server, we’ll perform create, read, update and delete (CRUD) operations and harness Express.js middleware concept with app.param() and app.use() methods.

First of all, make sure you have MongoDB installed. You can follow the steps on the official website.

We’ll be using the following versions of libraries:

  • express: ~4.1.1
  • body-parser: ~1.0.2
  • mongoskin: ~1.4.1
  • expect.js: ~0.3.1
  • mocha: ~1.18.2
  • superagent: ~0.17.0

If you try to attempt to use later or older versions the code might not work. :-(

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Blog Express.js Web Application Example

Here is one of the main examples that is featured in the book: the Blog application built with Express.js, MongoDB and Mongoskin. The application is subject to change, but if you’re an intermediate or advance Node.js programmer, go ahead and poke the source code, kick the tires of the server. It’s not a Ghost blogging platform, but blog-express can give valuable practical tips on how to implement:

Session-based authentication
Express.js middleware authorization
MVC-like pattern using lightweight MongoDB library called Mongoskin
REST API server
Express.js routes organization
Jade and server-side rendering

For the past few weeks, I’ve been writing a new book on Node.js. Hence the lack of new posts. This time, the book encompasses virtually all of the practical aspects of web development using Node.js: authentication, authorization, OAuth with third-party service providers, testing, libraries, frameworks, databases, ORMs and MVC-like patterns. In other words, if you have to read only one book on Node.js (which is not a good advice, but let’s assume), this will be the book that you have to read. :-)

The title and the alpha sign up are in secret for now (subscribe to get the news faster). The book is due in early spring 2014.

Here is one of the main examples that is featured in the book: the Blog application built with Express.js, MongoDB and Mongoskin. The application is subject to change, but if you’re an intermediate or advance Node.js programmer, go ahead and poke the source code, kick the tires of the server. It’s not a Ghost blogging platform, but blog-express can give valuable practical tips on how to implement:

  • Session-based authentication
  • Express.js middleware authorization
  • MVC-like pattern using lightweight MongoDB library called Mongoskin
  • REST API server
  • Express.js routes organization
  • Jade and server-side rendering
Blog Express.js App Home Page
Blog Express.js App Home Page

GitHub: http://github.com/azat-co/blog-express

Express.js and Mongoose Example: Building HackHall

Note: This text is a part of the Express.js Guide: The Comprehensive Book on Express.js.

The HackHall project was written using Backbone.js and Underscore for the front-end app, and Express.js, MongoDB via Mongoose for the back-end REST API server.

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Q&A: ImageMagick and Code Organization in Express.js

We continue with the Q&A from our readers. This is a question from Ian, the reader of Rapid Prototyping with JS.

We continue with the Q&A from our readers. This is a question from Ian, the reader of Rapid Prototyping with JS.

Continue reading “Q&A: ImageMagick and Code Organization in Express.js”

Express.js FUNdamentals: An Essential Overview of Express.js

Note: This text is a part of upcoming ebook JavaScript and Node FUNdamentals: A Collection of Essential Basics.

Express.js is an amazing framework for Node.js projects and used in the majority of such web apps. Unfortunately, there’s a lack of tutorials and examples on how to write good production-ready code. To mitigate this need, we released Express.js Guide: The Comprehesive Book on Express.js. However, all things start from basics, and for that reason we’ll give you a taste of the framework in this post, so you can decide if you want to continue the learning further.

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ExpressWorks: an Automated Express.js/Node.js Workshop and Tutorial

ExpressWorks is an automated Express.js/Node.js workshop.

TL;DR: ExpressWorks is an automated Express.js/Node.js workshop.

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