I have a couple of Philip Hue lights in the hallway. These show the build status on their lights with a small Node.JS application. Its working like a charm.

Currently I am in the process of testing and refactoring this application, but in my app.js I have some lines of code where I am having a hard time to figure out how to automatically test them.

if(config.enabledHueUpdateJobs) {
    var Hue = require('./hue.js');
    var Lights = require('./lights.js');

    var hallwayLights = new Lights(new Hue());
    hallwayLights.scheduleOn('45 7 * * 1-5');
    hallwayLights.scheduleOff('30 17 * * 1-5');    
    hallwayLights.scheduleUpdate('*/30 * 7-18 * * 1-5', buildServer.getFailedBuildCount);

I have 100% coverage for the Hue.js and the Lights.js 'classes', but the actual implementation code is not covered. I have had an issue where I changed the 'classes' public methods, but not the implementation code, but this was not caught by my tests.

I have been thinking about moving this code to a 'class' with a .start() function, but then still I would have one or two untested lines.

Please suggest a way how I can restructure my code (or some best practices/patterns that I should research/use) to make this better testable.


  • I want to let our build-server deploy a working version after all my tests have run. So I don't have to check the system manually.
  • I would like to have a TDD workflow, I would like to stay in my IDE and be confident to push my final changes.
  • Preferably I do not want to start 'node app.js' and test it with some blackbox testing system
  • 1
    Um, how do you actually get feedback from a Phillip Hue light to prove that your tests work? Are you using some sort of calibrated color sensor? Nov 17, 2016 at 17:28
  • In addition, what value do such tests bring to the table that a visual inspection of the output of the bulb doesn't already provide? Nov 17, 2016 at 17:28
  • I don't really think I need feedback from the lights, I am already mocking the API. Also I do not want to test the lamps have the right color, I trust the Hue API to work and be wel tested itself. Nov 17, 2016 at 19:13
  • I just want to make sure when I am adding a new feature TDD style or when refactoring that I don't forget to update the code in app.js. For example I could rename the Lights class to HallwayLamps, because I think it reads better, all my tests would succeed on the build-server and the build-server will auto deploy to the production system. But if I forgot to update the app.js the system is broken. I just want to cover the actual implementation with tests so I can safely update the system without manual testing it. Nov 17, 2016 at 19:13
  • 1
    RobertHarvey, thanks for calling it an integration test. Laiv, thanks for your ideas. I think parameterizing the interface helped to push me into my current solution. Nov 18, 2016 at 10:33

1 Answer 1


I found a working solution to write an integration-test for my code. I will try to explain my implementation.

I have added a way to start and stop my code in app.js. (I was already using a similar strategy for my Selenium tests for another project) This way I can start and stop the app.js code from the tests, without starting 'node app.js' from the command-line.

app.js code:

exports.start = function () {

    var hallwayLights = new Lights(new Hue(config.hueServerUrl, config.hueUserName));
    jobs.push(hallwayLights.scheduleUpdate(config.lightsUpdateSchedule, buildServer.getFailedBuildCount)); 

exports.close = function() {
    jobs.forEach(function (job) {

if (!isStartedFromTests()) { exports.start(); }
function isStartedFromTests() { return module.id != require.main.id; }

In the tests (using ava) I nock all the expected external API calls and verify they have been called.

test.integration.js code:

test.cb('Radiator: Should execute light schedules When the app is started', t => {
    // Arrange
    var bsNocks = new buildServerNocks(config.buildserverServerName, config.buildserverPort);

    var light1 = nock(config.hueServerUrl + config.hueUserName).put('/lights/1/state', hue.colors['red']).reply(200);
    var light2 = nock(config.hueServerUrl + config.hueUserName).put('/lights/2/state', hue.colors['green']).reply(200);
    var light3 = nock(config.hueServerUrl + config.hueUserName).put('/lights/3/state', hue.colors['green']).reply(200);

    // Act

    // Assert
    setTimeout(function() {
    }, 1200);

In the development.js config file I set the cron-schedule to every second, so it tests very fast. I moved the actual configs to production.js. This configuration setup is described in this blog post.

lightsUpdateSchedule: '*/1 * * * * *'

I have verified it works as expected by changing some internal function names like scheduleOn to jobOn and see that the test does fail.

Although it works, I am not yet convinced this is the best and most readable solution. Still open for other answers or idea's.

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