I'm relatively new to programming and have never written tests. I want to write unit tests for a group project (Angular web app with node background environment written in typescript), which you can find here. I picked out an examples which I want to test and I hope with your answers I can transfer what I learn to other parts of the project. Here is the piece of code in authentication.ts:

import {Request, Response} from 'express';

export function authenticatedUser(req: Request, res: Response, next: Function) {
    if (!req.user) {
        res.statusCode = 403;
        res.send('You are not logged in.');

I would like to write a unit test with Jasmine and run it with Karma in the web browser. My file authentication.spec.ts looks like this right now:

import jasmine;
import { authenticatedUser } from './authentication'

describe("authentication", () => {
    it("should authenticate user", () => {

I don't know how to proceed and if there is an if statement, do I need to test for true and false?

1 Answer 1


if there is an if statement, do I need to test for true and false?



A Test is meant to exercise your code and show how it works.

  • It shows the happy paths where everything works.
  • It shows the unhappy paths where something goes wrong and how that is communicated.

If I want to use this function/object/API/software system, I should be able to look at these tests and understand what will happen when I pass X in. Will it return null, return an object, throw an exception, will it block, is it asynchronous?

Now your code has a branch: if true do X else do Y.

Lets say that you test for branch X, but do not test branch Y. Is Y valid?

Obviously Y must compile fine, but some languages are pretty liberal about the definition of "compiled fine". JavaScript is in that liberal happy go lucky community. That isn't a bad thing, it just does not make "compiled fine" a satisfying statement about it being valid.

If the language has no problem with it, why is it even important that Branch Y is valid?

Flip that on its head, why is it important that Branch X is valid? The answer will probably be something like "Branch X is business behaviour", "Branch X is needed by feature Z", or "Branch X is when everything works". Branch Y represents the contra-case: when the Business Behaviour is different, or the feature does not need X, or something went wrong. In short there is a valid scenario where Branch Y will be picked. Action: Describe that scenario in the test.

That was a simplification, there is one more case: "Branch Y is never used". Action: Delete that branch.

For context consider GoTo Fail. This bug could have easily been identified by a series of tests that exercised each branch. Not doing so opened up that software to misbehaviour.

Further Learning

I would search YouTube for a few videos, and elsewhere for a book:

  • Look for any of Kent Beck's videos on Unit Testing, also find one of his unit testing/extreme programming books.
  • Look for a presentation called GUTS by Kevlin Henney, also look at his other presentations about errors.

As for syntax refer to the Jasmine Documentation.

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