Using Protractor for UI Tests in Angular JS for Loklak Apps Site

Loklak apps site’s home page and app details page have sections where data is dynamically loaded from external javascript and json files. Data is fetched from json files using angular js, processed and then rendered to the corresponding views by controllers. Any erroneous modification to the controller functions might cause discrepancies in the frontend. Since Loklak apps is a frontend project, any bug in the home page or details page will lead to poor UI/UX. How do we deal with this? One way is to write unit tests for the various controller functions and check their behaviours. Now how do we test the behaviours of the site. Most of the controller functions render something on the view. One thing we can do is simulate the various browser actions and test site against known, accepted behaviours with Protractor.

What is Protractor

Protractor is end to end test framework for Angular and AngularJS apps. It runs tests against our app running in browser as if a real user is interacting with our browser. It uses browser specific drivers to interact with our web application as any user would.

Using Protractor to write tests for Loklak apps site

First we need to install Protractor and its dependencies. Let us begin by creating an empty json file in the project directory using the following command.

echo {} > package.json

Next we will have to install Protractor.

The above command installs protractor and webdriver-manager. After this we need to get the necessary binaries to set up our selenium server. This can be done using the following.

./node_modules/protractor/bin/webdriver-manager update
./node_modules/protractor/bin/webdriver-manager start

Let us tidy up things a bit. We will include these commands in package.json file under scripts section so that we can shorten our commands.

Given below is the current state of package.json

    "scripts": {
        "start": "./node_modules/http-server/bin/http-server",
        "update-driver": "./node_modules/protractor/bin/webdriver-manager update",
        "start-driver": "./node_modules/protractor/bin/webdriver-manager start",
        "test": "./node_modules/protractor/bin/protractor conf.js"
    "dependencies": {
        "http-server": "^0.10.0",
        "protractor": "^5.1.2"

The package.json file currently holds our dependencies and scripts. It contains command for starting development server, updating webdriver and starting webdriver (mentioned just before this) and command to run test.

Next we need to include a configuration file for protractor. The configuration file should contain the test framework to be used, the address at which selenium is running and path to specs file.

// conf.js
exports.config = {
    framework: "jasmine",
    seleniumAddress: "http://localhost:4444/wd/hub",
    specs: ["tests/home-spec.js"]

We have set the framework as jasmine and selenium address as http://localhost:4444/wd/hub. Next we need to define our actual file. But before writing tests we need to find out what are the things that we need to test. We will mostly be testing dynamic content loaded by Javascript files. Let us define a spec. A spec is a collection of tests. We will start by testing the category name. Initially when the page loads it should be equal to All apps. Next we test the top right hand side menu which is loaded by javascript using topmenu.json file.

it("should have a category name", function() {
    expect(element("categoryName")).getText()).toEqual("All apps");

  it("should have top menu", function() {
    let list = element.all(by.css(".topmenu li a"));

As mentioned earlier, we are using jasmine framework for writing our specs. In the above code snippet ‘it’ describes a particular test. It takes a test description and a callback function thereby providing a very efficient way to document our tests white write the test code itself. In the first test we use expect function to check whether the category name is equal to All apps or not. Here we select the div containing the category name by its id.

Next we write a test for top menu. There should be five menu options in total for the top menu. We select all the list items that are supposed to contain the top menu items and check whether the number of such items are five or not using expect function. As it can be seen from the snippet, the process of selecting a node is almost similar to that of Jquery library.

Next we test the left hand side category list. This list is loaded by AngularJS controller from apps,json file. We should make sure the list is loaded properly and all the options are present.

it("should have a category list", function() {
    let categoryIds = ["All", "Scraper", "Search", "Visualizer", "LoklakLibraries", "InternetOfThings", "Misc"];
    let categoryNames = ["All", "Scraper", "Search", "Visualizer", "Loklak Libraries", "Internet Of Things", "Misc"];


    let categoryList = element.all(by.css(".category-main"));

    categoryIds.forEach(function(id, index) {
      element(by.css("#" + id)).isPresent().then(function(present) {

      element(by.css("#" + id)).getText().then(function(text) {

At first we maintain two lists of category id and category names. We begin by confirming that Category title is equal to Categories. Next we get the list of categories and iterate over them, For each category we check whether the corresponding id is present in the DOM or not. After confirming this, we match the names of the categories with the expected names. Elements.all function allows us to get a list of selected nodes.

Finally we check the click functionality of the left side menu. Expected behaviour is, on clicking a menu item, the category name should get replaced with the selected category name. For this we need to simulate the click event. Protractor allows us to do it very easily using click function.

it("category list should respond to click", function() {
    let categoryIds = ["All", "Scraper", "Search", "Visualizer", "LoklakLibraries", "InternetOfThings", "Misc"];
    let categoryNames = ["All apps", "Scraper", "Search", "Visualizer", "Loklak Libraries", "Internet Of Things", "Misc"];

    categoryIds.forEach(function(id, index) {
      element([index])).click().then(function() {
        browser.getCurrentUrl().then(function(url) {
          expect(url).toBe("" + categoryIds[index]);
        element("categoryName")).getText().then(function(text) {

Once again we maintain two lists, category id and category names. We obtain the present list of categories and iterate over them. For each category link we simulate a click event. For each click event we check two values. We check the new browser URL which should now contain the category id. Next we check the value of category name. It should be equal to the category selected.
FInally after all the tests are over we get the final report on our terminal.
In order to run the tests, use the following command.

npm test

This will start executing the tests.

Important resources

Using Protractor for UI Tests in Angular JS for Loklak Apps Site