An Overview of Mock Functions With Jest

Matthew Garica

A higher order function takes a function and returns a function. Jest offers a way to make sure the function you gave is being used right.

Testing a Higher Order Function

Let’s say you want to write a memoization function. It might look something like:

// memoize.js
export default function memoize(func) {
  return function (key) {
    const registry = new Map();
    let value = registry.get(key);
    if (typeof value === 'undefined') {
      value = func(key);
      registry.set(key, value);
    }
    return value;
  }
}

And to test it, you’d have something like:

import memoize from './memoize';

it('memoizes `func`.', () => {
  // `func` here just cubes the input.
  const func = value => Math.pow(value, 3);
  const memoizedFunc = memoize(func);
  expect(memoizedFunc(3)).toEqual(27);
  expect(memoizedFunc(4)).toEqual(64);
  expect(memoizedFunc(3)).toEqual(27);
  expect(memoizedFunc(5)).toEqual(125);
});

yarn run test, everything passes, we’re done, right?

The Trouble With Testing Higher Order Functions

Except there’s a problem with memoize. Did you catch it? The issue is that you’re testing the resultant function, but not how the input function is being used. To do this, Jest provides mock functions.

Creating a Mock Function

It’s pretty simple; just pass an implementation function to jest.fn and it’ll give you a mock function.

Hey, that's a higher order function, too!

Let’s use this to test memoize a bit better:

import memoize from './memoize';

it('memoizes `func`.', () => {
  // A mock function: a function wrapped in `jest.fn`.
  const func = jest.fn(value => Math.pow(value, 3));
  const memoizedFunc = memoize(func);
  expect(memoizedFunc(3)).toEqual(27);
  expect(memoizedFunc(4)).toEqual(64);
  expect(memoizedFunc(3)).toEqual(27);
  expect(memoizedFunc(5)).toEqual(125);
  // Mock functions have a few special matchers available to them.  Let's take a look.
  // `func` was called.
  expect(func).toHaveBeenCalled();
  // `func` has been called with 5.
  expect(func).toHaveBeenCalledWith(4);
  // `func` was last called with 5.
  expect(func).toHaveBeenLastCalledWith(5);
  // `func` was called thrice (since the second 3 was supposed to be memoized).
  // Supposed to.
  expect(func).toHaveBeenCalledTimes(3);
});

Now that you’re testing how the function is used, you can catch that error in memoize.

✖ Clear

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