Andrew Leedham

The two ways to test errors in Jest


Method one

The simplest way to test for errors being thrown in Jest is using one of the three built-in matchers:

Something to note when using any of these functions is that you should be passing a function to expect, not a value like you usually would. This is because Jest needs to manage when your function is called so it can wrap it in a try/catch internally. In the case of asynchronous code you can just pass a Promise and do .rejects.toThrow().

For most cases the above functions should suffice. However, you may have noticed they only look at either the message of the error or its Error class. What if you want to go deeper, for example there is a new Error class that has landed in several browsers and is in newer versions of Node.js called AggregateError. It groups multiple errors together by storing them as 'children' on a property called "errors". We could test if we are getting an AggregateError or if the message of said error is as expected, but not what each of the internal errors are. This brings us to our second way of testing for errors in Jest.

Method 2

Using try/catch in a Jest test function is the second method, this may seem obvious but what if no error is thrown, the test would still pass. Jest has us covered here with a function for checking how many assertions were made in a test: expect.hasAssertions(), or even expect.assertions(number) if you want to make sure a specific number of assertions were made. I have been using Jest for years and have only just discovered these two functions (hence the blogpost). So, let’s look at an example:

function foo() {
throw new AggregateError([new Error('bar'), new Error('baz')], 'foo');

test('AggregateError has specific child errors', () => {
// We are telling Jest that this test definitely has assertions.
// Meaning if expect is not called at least once it will fail.
// So if foo does not throw an error our test will fail.
try {
} catch (error) {
// We now have the full error object and can test whatever we like.