What Is Cypress? How To Architect Cypress Tests?

What Is Cypress? How To Architect Cypress Tests?

What amazing software you have built! But, why are some of the functionalities crashing again and again? As the owner of a reputed business, you will surely not like to hear such a statement. But, unfortunately, this can be a common scenario if you do not prioritize testing every bit of your products before deploying them.

In the present scenario, the internet is easily accessible to almost everyone on the planet. As a result, the number of tech users is increasing at an alarming rate and businesses are struggling to handle such a huge amount of data. Better work efficiency, stronger security, and actual usefulness are among the topmost focus points of a technology business. If you want your business to roam about the seventh cloud of success, your products need to keep improving every moment.

Now, you may have put in a lot of effort in developing your application so that it provides the most advanced and effective features. But, it can crash anytime due to internal bugs, incapability to handle huge traffic, or not being planned for unknown handling by users. However, all such issues can be demolished just by testing your application with different parameters. Software testing is all about creating numerous test cases with different conditions so that they can ensure if every functionality of your application is working properly for whatever choices the users make, the application and the server are capable of handling huge traffic, and if there is any bug in the code working in the background, etc. Here, we are going to discuss Cypress, one of the largest names in the field of testing tech products.

What Is Cypress?

Cypress is an extraordinary front-end testing framework that enables you to easily create powerful, efficient, and flexible test cases for modern web applications. It is very popular due to its advantages like providing easy test configuration, convenient reporting, efficient dashboards, etc. for both unit tests and integration tests. The best part about Cypress is that it is written in JavaScript, based on Node.JS, and runs on Mocha, which is another JavaScript. Hence, it provides amazing flexibility by allowing you to install it through the npm module and write the tests in JavaScript. As it bundles with jQuery (JavaScript Library), you can use several jQuery methods to identify & simplify HTML DOM tree traversal & manipulation, event handling, CSS animation, and Ajax.

There are plenty of testing tools or frameworks available in the tech world. Hardly any QA engineer will deny Selenium as a great choice of the testing framework. Then what makes the world accept Cypress tests as a better choice over most of the other competitors? Well, the following benefits will surely make you aware of the reasons behind Cypress’s popularity as one of the most efficient testing frameworks.

  • Ease of Use: No matter how many features a tool provides, most users primarily look for a tool that they can easily use without diving into the depth of technical knowledge. Cypress creates a significant mark on that ground. It is so easy to use because -
  • It does not need to install a separate software and can easily be run on the real browser.
  • Its in-built wait for requests feature exempts the users from configuring additional waits.
  • Less Flaky Tests: Flaky tests occur when the test suite keeps on executing even with failed test cases. But, Cypress waits for commands and assertions to get executed properly before moving on. Hence, the chances of flaky tests due to async issues are significantly reduced.
  • Debuggability: It tests web applications on real browsers and allows debugging the apps directly through the developer tools. Such fast and easy debugging becomes possible only due to the readable errors and stack traces received through Cypress tests.
  • Network Traffic Control: Cypress lets you control network traffic as required and you get the freedom to customize the response of your API calls as needed.
  • Recording The Tests: Every bit of test results cannot be analyzed in one go. For that, you may need to check the test execution and results again and again. And, Cypress tests provide you with that freedom. It takes screenshots of every significant moment in the entire test run and records videos of the complete test suite. You get the opportunity to check those snapshots and recordings whenever you want.
  • Efficient Dashboard: Features are truly useful only when they can easily be controlled. An amazing, easy-to-use dashboard provided by Cypress enables you to navigate through the functionalities.
  • Spies, Stubs, and Clocks: Cypress provides some amazing spies and stubs allowing you to verify and control the behavior of functions, server responses, or timers at run time.

Also, you must come out of a terrible myth about Cypress that it is capable of running JavaScript-friendly web applications. The reality is that any web applications built with Django, Ruby on Rails, Laravel, etc. can easily be tested using Cypress. Also, the massive set of programming languages supported by Cypress includes PHP, Python, Ruby, C#, etc. However, commonly, the Cypress tests are written in JavaScript but beyond that, it works on any application irrespective of programming language.

Why Is Cypress Preferred Over Selenium?

The above-mentioned advantages of Cypress tests clearly depict the positive side of using them. But, to understand the reasons behind the domination of Cypress over such a popular tool Selenium, you must check out the following table.


Basis of Comparison

Selenium

Cypress

Speed

Moderate

Great

Parallel Test Execution

Good

None

Remote Test Execution

Good

Moderate

Screenshot

Good

Good

Video

Moderate

Great

Wait For Element

Moderate

Great

Documentation

Moderate

Great

JavaScript Execution

Good

Excellent

Headless

Good

Good

Community

Good

Moderate

Switching Tabs

Good

Moderate

Several Browsers

Good

Great

Load Extensions

Good

Great

Manage Cookies

Good

Good


From this table, we can easily get the idea that on most of the grounds of comparison, Cypress excels easily over Selenium. Hence, you can understand why the world prefers Cypress over Selenium as a better testing framework.

Cypress Architecture

As we previously mentioned, most testing tools or frameworks run remote commands across the network and operate outside the browser. But, we have seen that the Cypress engine overtakes all other powerful competitors by operating inside the browser. That means it makes your browser capable of executing the test code by itself.

Cypress is capable of listening to and modifying the browser behavior at run time by manipulating DOM and altering Network requests & responses on the fly. With Cypress, you get complete control of testing your application from both the front-end and back-end. The Node server runs behind Cypress on the client-side, creating a way for interaction with it. The Node server accompanies Cypress in carrying out tasks to support the test execution. As Cypress has access to both the front-end and the back-end of the application, the responsiveness to the application in real-time during execution is well accomplished. Hence, it makes it possible for Cypress to perform tasks that run even outside the browser.

Cypress performs significant roles related to the network layer and the commands to be executed. It interacts with the network layer, and reads & changes the web traffic to capture commands. The HTTP requests and responses are sent by Cypress from the Node server to the browser. Because of being operational in the network layer, Cypress takes part in modifying the code that might interfere with the automation of the web browser. The WebSocket handles the communication between the Node server and the browser.

Crucial responsibilities like running all the commands inside and outside of the browser are completed by Cypress. As it is installed in the local machine, it can easily interact with the operating system to record videos, capture snapshots, access the network layer, and perform file system operations. Also, it becomes advantageous for Cypress to access everything from DOM, window objects, local storage, network layer, and DevTools.

Whereas in Selenium, the drivers of the browsers interact with the browser instances for the execution of the commands, Cypress executes commands directly into the browser automation APIs. Also, Cypress supports a huge set of browsers including Chrome, Canary, Electron (default), Mozilla Firefox browsers (beta support), Chromium, and Microsoft Edge (Chromium-based) browsers. And, Cypress even provides you with unbelievable benefits in the form of the following tests -

  • Cypress Unit Tests.
  • Cypress Functional Tests.
  • Cypress Integration Tests.
  • Cypress End-to-end Tests.

Hence, if you are using Cypress in a more efficient way with PreFlight Cypress Recorder, stay relaxed about the fulfillment of your testing pyramid needs.

The Components of Cypress

The two main components of Cypress are Test Runner and Dashboard. And, as their names suggest, they are the prime requirements for running the test cases on your local machine and controlling the runs & status from the automation site.

We have jotted down some descriptions and features of the two components below.

Test Runner: It is an awesome component that has an interactive runner to provide the users with amazing benefits while the tests are running. It allows you to see the commands as they are getting executed while you can also check out the application under test in real-time. The below-mentioned subcomponents of the test runner provide us with several small yet significant benefits during the execution of the test cases.

  • Test Status: The menu option allows you to keep track of how many test cases have passed, failed, or are still in progress along with displaying the time consumed in the test.
  • URL Preview: Here you can check out the URL that is being tested. Also, by using this component, you can track any URL route.
  • Viewport Sizing: It allows you to set your app viewport size so that you can easily test responsive layouts.
  • Command Log: The command log is a great feature to analyze the executed commands along with their effects on the application being tested.
  • App Preview: Due to the app preview feature, you become able to check out the application while test commands are getting executed.

Dashboard: If you want to have complete control over the test features and experience amazing efficiency, the Cypress Dashboard is a blessing for you. By putting this amazing dashboard to use, you can access recorded tests while running Cypress tests from your CI provider. To know more about these features, keep an eye out for our future articles on our blog page.

How To Install and Set Up Cypress?

Till now, we got to know a lot about Cypress including its features, architecture, why it is better than Selenium, etc. But, that information will be of no use if you do not know how to use it. Well, the conventional form of using Cypress consists of some steps. However, PreFlight’s Cypress Test Recorder makes the entire process much simpler than we have discussed later in this article. Now, let’s check out how Cypress is traditionally installed and set up.

Prerequisites for Installing Cypress

Well, Cypress is a testing framework. Hence, naturally, it will require a few other tools to set up a suitable environment for it. That’s why you need to take care of the following prerequisites before proceeding with the installation of Cypress.

  • We already know that Cypress runs on a Node server. Hence, we must have to install Node.js.
  • You need to write the test cases for Cypress (only if you don’t use Cypress Test Recorder). That means a code editor or IDE is essential.

So, let’s get to know about the installation process of Node.js and Visual Studio Code (the IDE that we have discussed here).

Node.js Installation Process in Mac

macOS is a highly preferred operating system in the field of software development and testing. Hence, let’s proceed with how you can install Node.js on Mac.

1) Visit https://nodejs.org/en/download/ to check out the latest versions of Node.js and go on with downloading the suitable one for your device.

2) Click on the macOS installer and a package file will get downloaded. Then click on the pkg file to start the installation.

3) Clicking on the .pkg file will open the Node installer. The introduction page will let you know about the Node.js and npm versions to be installed. Click on “Continue” to proceed further.

4) A window will appear asking whether you agree or disagree with the Software license agreement. Click on “Agree” to proceed to the next step.

5) Now, the “Installer” will ask for access to the files in your “Downloads” folder. Click on “OK” to continue.

6) Here, you will be asked to select the destination where you want to install Node.js. The recommended approach is to select the destination according to your system space. However, here I am selecting the default installation location.

7) In this window, you have to click on the “Install” button. Then the installer will ask for your User password. Enter the password and click on the “Install Software” button.

Woohoo! You have successfully installed Node.js and the npm package on your Mac machine. Now, click on “Close” to finish the installation and close the installer window.

Visual Studio Code Installation Process in Mac

As we are done with installing Node.js on our machine, it’s time to install our code editor or IDE Visual Studio Code. VS Code is one of the most popular and powerful IDE that comes with all the in-built functionalities of JavaScript. Let’s get on with knowing the step-by-step process for downloading and installing it.

1) The first step to installing VS Code on your Mac is to download it. For that, navigate to https://code.visualstudio.com/download and download the suitable version for your device.

2) Clicking on the “Mac” icon on the download page will start downloading a package.

3) The package is usually downloaded in zipped format. Click on it to unzip it. After unzipping, you can see the Visual Studio Code in your Downloads in Finder.

4) With this, you have finished installing your code editor too. Now, click on the VS Code icon to open it.

Creating A New Cypress Project

As you have finished setting up the prerequisites for using Cypress on your local machine, it’s time to create your first Cypress project. So, let’s begin with it.

1) First, you have to create a new Node project in Visual Studio Code. For that, click on the VS Code icon and you will be redirected to the Welcome page. Now, you have to click on the “Add Workspace folder to create a new folder.

2) Now, a pop-up will appear asking you to add a new folder. Select the location where you want to add the workspace. Then click on “New Folder”, add the folder name as per your choice, and click on “Open”.

Now, as we are done creating a folder for our Cypress test, we can start writing our tests. But, before that, we have to install the package.json file. So, let’s first get to know a brief about it.

What is the Package.json file?

The Package.json file holds all npm packages in a file. The common location of this file is the root directory of the Node.js project. All the necessary metadata for the project is usually stored in this file. The responsibilities of the Package.json file include supplying all the information to npm, identifying the project, and handling dependencies. Important information like project name, versions, license, dependencies, etc. are stored in the package.json file.

Now, as we have got a good idea about the package.json file, let’s check out how to download and set it up in VS Code.

1) As we have to execute a series of commands, we need to open the terminal from the “Terminal” option on the top of the VS Code. Clicking on that option will open a dropdown menu from where you have to select the “New Terminal” option.

2) After the terminal opens, type the below-mentioned command in the project directory and press “Enter”.

npm init



3) After you press “Enter”, a window will appear asking you to type some details. Then you need to enter those details in the terminal as mentioned below.

  • Package Name: It is for your convenience so, you are free to choose any name for your package.
  • Version: This is all about showing the information of the npm version. As you already know that, you can skip it and press “Enter” to proceed further.
  • Description: This portion allows you to provide some additional information about the package. Add them as you want and press “Enter” again.
  • Entry Point: Here the objective is to represent the entry point of the application. But, it is already defined with index.js so, you can skip it.
  • Test Command: The commands that run the test. Though you don’t need to add commands here, you are free to add some in case of necessity.
  • Git Repository: Here you have to add the path to the Git repository but, you can leave it blank too.
  • Keywords: This portion is for adding some unique keywords that will create a special identification for the project. This field can also be skipped.
  • Author: This is the field where you have to add the name of the person responsible for the project. As it is your project, you can add your name here.
  • License: License details are already pre-populated with ISC. Hence, you are clear to skip worrying about it and press “Enter”.

4) Now, as you have finished entering the details, you have to proceed further. For that, press “Enter” and the terminal will display the details entered by you. It will also ask for confirmation. Then you have to type “Yes” and press “Enter” again to move ahead.

This completes the generation of a package.json file. The file will be displayed in the code editor along with the information provided by us.

Installation Process of Cypress

Now, we are done with setting up the prerequisites for downloading Cypress, Node, and also initializing npm. So, it’s time to download Cypress. Let’s check out the ways to do that.

Downloading Cypress via npm

To install Cypress, you have to pass the below-mentioned command in the Terminal along with passing the same command in the project directory to install the node and generated the package.json file.

npm install cypress --save-dev



Passing this command will initialize the download of all necessary dependencies for the project. You can now see the latest version of Cypress getting installed. It can be verified by the downloaded representation in Terminal and the addition of devDependencies in the package.json file.

Direct Download Method

Another method of downloading Cypress is there if you do not want to face the hassle of using the Node or npm package in the project. This method provides an advantage of downloading Cypress directly from their CDN but, it brings one disadvantage too which is the incapability of recording the tests in the dashboard.

You can simply download Cypress by clicking here. This will get the zip file downloaded. After the download is complete, you can easily run Cypress by opening the zip file and double-clicking it. There is no need for the installation of dependencies in this method. And, another great benefit of this method is that it will always provide you with the latest versions of all relevant functionalities. However, experts recommend downloading Cypress via npm as a better choice than the direct download method.

The Simplest and Most Efficient Method For Cypress Tests

Till now, you got to know about the conventional methods of downloading and installing Cypress and you clearly got the idea that no matter how simple a process looks, it will take a number of steps to execute Cypress tests by those methods. But, do you know that a small browser extension can make you generate efficient Cypress test codes within seconds? Well, it is absolutely true and much easier than you can even imagine.

Yes, we are talking about the amazing Cypress Test Recorder from PreFlight. This tool enables you to set up your tests once through a simple interface and as soon as you are done completing the steps you want to test, you have its most efficient Cypress code to start with. Just add the extension to your browser by clicking here and start creating your Cypress tests as simply as shown below.

So, as you can see, generating Cypress test codes with the Cypress Test Recorder is so easy that you will feel like you are navigating through a social media page. This amazing tool by PreFlight uplifts your testing experience with the following benefits -

  • Amazing Efficiency: Whereas conventional methods let you create Cypress tests after a long hassle, our tool enables you to generate a much more efficient Cypress test code within seconds.
  • Simple Interface: Navigating through our interface is so easy and smooth that you will feel like you are using a social media page.
  • Absolute Control: Everyone likes to have control over the technical aspects related to their products. Our tool lets you have complete control of the Cypress test codes of the tests created by you.
  • High Test Coverage: As you become able to create the test within much less time and there is no wastage of time due to broken tests, you become able to achieve a greater test coverage than the same achieved by the conventional methods.
  • Integrations: With our Cypress Test Recorder, you don’t have to worry about incompatibility with the platforms that you have been using for a long. It is just a piece of cake to integrate your existing platforms with our amazing tool.

Don’t just stay tempted by these amazing functionalities. Get started with this amazing Cypress Test Recorder from PreFlight. For more information, check out our documentation on our website. Also, visit our blog page for more such amazing articles.