neil / berg

Testing Thunk-y Redux Actions

November 20, 2019

In Redux-land, thunk-y action creators are those that return a function and not an action, i.e., a plain object. Using them in a Redux store can be achieved with the redux-thunk middleware. With the help of custom middleware to track actions (developed by Dillon Krug), testing thunk-y actions is a breeze.

To demo the testing of thunk-y action creators, we'll create a simple React app that first fetches the latitude and longitude of a city and then uses those coordinates to fetch the current weather of that city. The asynchronous nature of data fetching is where the thunk-y actions will come in to play.

The app has a directory structure as follows:

src/
--App.js
--index.js 
--actions/
----fetching.actions.js
----geocode.actions.js
----status.actions.js
----weather.actions.js
--components/
----CityForm.js
--reducers/
----geocode.reducer.js
----status.reducer.js
----weather.reducer.js
--store/
----store.js

Reducers and Redux store

Three reducers are used in this app:

  1. geocode.reducer for handling state related to the city's coordinates
  2. weather.reducer for handling state related to the city's weather
  3. status.reducer for handling data fetching states, e.g. loading, error, and success

All the reducers and their initial states are exported from their respective reducer files and combined into a single rootReducer. Then we can create the Redux store that incorporates the redux-thunk middleware.

// store/store.js

import { combinedReducers, createStore, applyMiddleware } from 'redux'
import thunk from 'redux-thunk'

import { geocodeReducer } from '../reducers/geocode.reducer';
import { statusReducer } from '../reducers/status.reducer';
import { weatherReducer } from '../reducers/weather.reducer';

const rootReducer = combineReducers({
	status: statusReducer,
	geocode: geocodeReducer,
	weather: weatherReducer
})

export const store = createStore(rootReducer, applyMiddleware(thunk))

Thunk-y actions

Most pertitent to this article are the actions used to fetch data. For that we create a single action creator called fetchWeather inside of actions/fetching.actions.js.

// actions/fetching.actions.js

import axios from 'axios';

import { setLoading, setError, setSuccess } from './status.actions'
import { setCity, setCoords } from './geocode.actions';
import { setSummary, setTemperature, setPrecip } from './weather.actions';

export const fetchWeather = city => async (dispatch, getState) => {
	dispatch(setLoading());
	try {
		const url1 = `https://api.mapbox.com/geocoding/v5/mapbox.places/${city}.json?access_token=${process.env.REACT_APP_GEOCODE_ACCESS_TOKEN}&limit=1`;
		const { data: { features } } = await axios.get(url1);
		const [lon, lat] = features[0].center;
		dispatch(setCity(city));
		dispatch(setCoords(lat, lon));

		const proxy = 'https://cors-anywhere.herokuapp.com/';
		const url2 = `https://api.darksky.net/forecast/${process.env.REACT_APP_DARK_SKY_API_KEY}/${lat},${lon}`;
		const { data: { currently } } = await axios.get(proxy + url2);
		const { summary, temperature, precipProbability: precip } = currently;
		dispatch(setSummary(summary));
		dispatch(setTemperature(temperature));
		dispatch(setPrecip(precip))
		dispatch(setSuccess());
	} catch (error) {
		dispatch(setError(error))
	}
}

The other action creators that fetchWeather calls are all synchronous and simply return an action, for instance, setCity looks like:

// actions/geocode.actions.js

export const setCity = (city) => ({
	type: "SET_CITY",
	city
})

Returing to fetchWeather, we see that this thunk-y action takes on the signature of fn = params => (dispatch, getState) => { ... }, where dispatch and getState parameters are accesible to the inner function by the redux-thunk middleware. When this action creator is called, it is passed a city name as an argument and then uses the dispatch method to indicate that the loading process has begun and if successful, translates the city into lat/lon coordinates and then fetches weather at those coordinates, or catches an error and dispatches it back to the statusReducer. getState is not used in this creator and could be removed from the function, but I've included it to clarify that access to the store's state via getState() is available in thunk-y actions.

Testing thunk-y actions

At this point we're ready to test fetchWeather. Let's start by setting up our Jest testing environment. Jest comes out of the box in a React-app using create-react-app, but if you aren't bootstrapping your app using CRA, simply install the library as a dev dependency and setup configuration either in package.json or a separate jest.config.js file.

Since axios is used as a helper library for HTTP requests, we need to mock its methods (don't make real API calls in your tests!).

// __tests__/fetching.actions.test.js

jest.mock("axios", () => ({
  get: () => jest.fn(() => {
      throw new Error("axios.get not mocked")
    }),
}))

import axios from "axios"

Errors are thrown on mocked functions to make sure that their implementation inside of tests is also mocked. Not necessary, but a nice sanity check to ensure that you are fully in control of any mocked method.

Next, we need to re-create the redux store in this test file, but with an extra middleware applied. The extra middleware is a function called trackActions that takes in a context (ctx) object and assigns it an actions property that will ultimately be used to collect actions passed through the store. That collection happens through the redux middleware signature of store => next => action => { ... }. In our case, we want the inner function to simply push the actions onto ctx.actions before moving down the middleware chain.

// __tests__/fetching.actions.test.js

function trackActions (ctx) {
	ctx.actions = [];
	return store => next => action => {
		ctx.actions.push(action);
		return next(action);
	};
}

trackActions get used as the final middleware when creating the redux store. After the redux store is created, we assign it some extra helper methods to extract the tracked actions off the ctx object.

// __tests__/fetching.actions.test.js

function createTrackedStore (rootReducer, middleware = [thunk]) {
	const ctx = {};
	const store = createStore(rootReducer, applyMiddleware(...middleware, trackActions(ctx)));
	return Object.assign(store, {
		getActions: () => ctx.actions,
		getFirstAction: () => ctx.actions[0],
		getNthAction: (n) => n > ctx.actions.length ? new Error('out of bounds') : ctx.actions[n - 1],
		getLastAction: () => ctx.actions[ctx.actions.length - 1],
		clearActions: () => ctx.actions = [],
	});
}

With these functions in place, we're ready to start testing the thunky action creator. In the setup phase of the test, we create the tracked store and dispatch fetchWeather with some sample data. The sample data needs to have the same structure as what the API returns, which looks like:

// __tests__/fetching.actions.test.js

const testData = {
	city: 'Baltimore',
	geocode: {
		data: {
			features: [
				{
					center: [100, 100]
				}
			]
		}
	},
	weather: {
		data: {
			currently: {
				summary: 'testSummary',
				temperature: 100,
				precipProbability: .5
			}
		}
	},
}

We also need to define the implementation of the mocked axios calls. The first call should return the geocode information and the second should return the weather data. Since axios is promise-based, we need to mock their resolved values.

// __tests__/fetching.actions.test.js

describe('fetchWeather() action creator', () => {
	describe('Success fetching geocode and weather', () => {
		let store;
		beforeAll(() => {
			jest.spyOn(axios, 'get')
				.mockResolvedValueOnce(testData.geocode)
				.mockResolvedValueOnce(testData.weather)
			store = createTrackedStore(rootReducer);
			store.dispatch(fetchingActions.fetchWeather(testData.city));
		})

Looking back at fetchWeather, during a successful fetch, we should see the following action creators get dispatched:

  1. setLoading
  2. setCity
  3. setCoords
  4. setSummary
  5. setTemperature
  6. setPrecip
  7. setSuccess

The setLoading action creator returns an object with a type SET_LOADING. Therefore, in our tracked store, we should see the first action match that type.

// __tests__/fetching.actions.test.js

describe('fetchWeather() action creator', () => {
	describe('Success fetching geocode and weather', () => {
		let store;
		beforeAll(() => {
			jest.spyOn(axios, 'get')
				.mockResolvedValueOnce(testData.geocode)
				.mockResolvedValueOnce(testData.weather)
			store = createTrackedStore(rootReducer);
			store.dispatch(fetchingActions.fetchWeather(testData.city));
		})
		it('dispatches SET_LOADING', () => {			expect(store.getFirstAction()).toEqual({				type: 'SET_LOADING'			})		})

The axios get methods should then be called twice (one for the geocode and one for the weather).

// __tests__/fetching.actions.test.js

describe('fetchWeather() action creator', () => {
	describe('Success fetching geocode and weather', () => {
		let store;
		beforeAll(() => {
			jest.spyOn(axios, 'get')
				.mockResolvedValueOnce(testData.geocode)
				.mockResolvedValueOnce(testData.weather)
			store = createTrackedStore(rootReducer);
			store.dispatch(fetchingActions.fetchWeather(testData.city));
		})
		it('dispatches SET_LOADING', () => {
			expect(store.getFirstAction()).toEqual({
				type: 'SET_LOADING'
			})
		})
		it('calls axios.get() twice', async () => {			expect(axios.get).toHaveBeenCalledTimes(2);		})

More stringent tests could also be implemented here to assert that the axios calls were invoked with the correct arguments.

Then the remaining action creators get called that place all of the geocode and weather data into the store. For instance, the second action the store receives comes from the setCity action creator, which is verified by:

// __tests__/fetching.actions.test.js

describe('fetchWeather() action creator', () => {
	describe('Success fetching geocode and weather', () => {
		let store;
		beforeAll(() => {
			jest.spyOn(axios, 'get')
				.mockResolvedValueOnce(testData.geocode)
				.mockResolvedValueOnce(testData.weather)
			store = createTrackedStore(rootReducer);
			store.dispatch(fetchingActions.fetchWeather(testData.city));
		})
		it('dispatches SET_LOADING', () => {
			expect(store.getFirstAction()).toEqual({
				type: 'SET_LOADING'
			})
		})
		it('calls axios.get() twice', async () => {
			expect(axios.get).toHaveBeenCalledTimes(2);
		})
		it('dispatches SET_CITY with correct city', () => {			expect(store.getNthAction(2)).toEqual({				type: 'SET_CITY',				city: testData.city			})		})

Similar tests can be written for the remaining actions in this scenario and also for the two error scenarios (one during fetching geocode data and the other when fetching weather data). In any case, make sure that in the cleanup phase of the tests that any mocked implementations are restored and for good measure, clear any tracked actions in the store.

// __tests__/fetching.actions.test.js

describe('fetchWeather() action creator', () => {
	describe('Success fetching geocode and weather', () => {
		let store;
		beforeAll(() => {
			jest.spyOn(axios, 'get')
				.mockResolvedValueOnce(testData.geocode)
				.mockResolvedValueOnce(testData.weather)
			store = createTrackedStore(rootReducer);
			store.dispatch(fetchingActions.fetchWeather(testData.city));
		})
		it('dispatches SET_LOADING', () => {
			expect(store.getFirstAction()).toEqual({
				type: 'SET_LOADING'
			})
		})
		it('calls axios.get() twice', async () => {
			expect(axios.get).toHaveBeenCalledTimes(2);
		})
		it('dispatches SET_CITY with correct city', () => {
			expect(store.getNthAction(2)).toEqual({
				type: 'SET_CITY',
				city: testData.city
			})
		})
		// ... additional tests for remaining actions
		afterAll(() => {			axios.get.mockRestore();			store.clearActions();		})

If all goes well, you'll hopefully see a nice Jest summary of green check marks!

Jest summary of tests

Tracking and testing actions ✅✅✅

Voila! Go forth and test thunk-y actions without fear!