Test APIs with Supertest and Jest

Test APIs with Supertest and Jest

Hello everyone! Last week, as I was writing my Let's Build a Node.js API Series, I learned from a reader that testing MVC APIs using Supertest and Jest is a good idea.

Like I have mentioned before, the best thing about blogging is being able to learn from others. So in this article, I'll share how we can test our APIs using these tools suggested by Taimoor Sattar.

What's MVC Architecture?

It stands for Model View Controller and it is a popular software design pattern used when building APIs or full-stack apps. In MVC architecture, the software is divided into 3 interconnected components - Model, View and Controller.

MVC image


Refers to the data structure of the app. For example, if your app is a blog, your model may have "author", "date", "content" in its model.


Refers to the elements that the user will see and interact with. It allows the user to read the data in a more engaging format and defines how the user can manipulate it (i.e. CRUD).


The controller is the bridge of communication between the Model and View component. From the View, it receives user input which instructs what kind of actions to perform on the Model.


It is a testing framework developed by Facebook and uses built-in test runners and assertion libraries in JavaScript. It is also easy to setup, which we will see later in this tutorial.


It is used to test HTTP servers by sending a method like GET, PUT, POST or DELETE, Supertest can test any HTTP requests. Even multipart file uploads like the one my API has.

A simple example

So now that we have gone through the basics of the tools and concepts we need for today, let's try making some tests! I have a Tea API (or T-API for short) that I deployed on tea-api-vic-lo.herokuapp.com. This API uses the MVC architecture.

Step 1: Install jest and supertest

We can run the following in our project root directory:

npm install --save-dev jest supertest

Step 2: Package.json

In our package.json, we can add a "jest" portion that looks like:

 "jest": {
    "testEnvironment": "node"

In our "scripts" key of our package.json, we have:

"scripts": {
  "test": "jest"

Step 3: Create test files

The cool thing about jest is that it can automatically detect your test files as long as you name it in any of the 3 following formats:

  1. Any .js file in a folder named __tests__
  2. Any .js file with a name like [name].spec.js
  3. Any .js file with a name like [name].test.js

I'm going to test the routes of my API so I'm creating a tea.test.js in my routes folder like so:

    |- tea.js
    |- tea.test.js

Step 4: Write a test

And in tea.test.js, I can write a simple test like:

describe("Get all tea", () => {
  it("should get all tea", async () => {
    await request(app)
      .set("Accept", "application/json")
      .expect("Content-Type", /json/)
  • describe is where we can describe the test suite
  • it defines the test and what it should do. In this case, we make an async GET request to the /tea route
  • expect is to check whether the test matches certain conditions. In this case, we expect a json with a status code of 200 to be returned from this test.

Step 5: Run test

We run the test with npm test.

The console would show the following output:



Both POSTman and Supertest with Jest are useful testing tools to test your API and their HTTP routes. POSTman requires more manual testing because you need to write in the URL, set the method and req.body to test endpoints. However, it is simple and intuitive to use. You don't need to install any npm packages or set up anything other than install the software itself. If your API is simple enough like my T-API, POSTman is not a bad idea to use.

If your API has a lot of endpoints, I'd say Supertest is a better choice. One reason is that it can execute all the tests easily in one command instead of manually testing them one by one. Also, it uses intuitive syntax like describe and expect. Thanks for reading this simple introduction to Jest and Supertest. I hope you found this article helpful. Feel free to read the resources below to learn more. Till next time, cheers!


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