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Cypress vs react-testing-library: What are the differences?

Introduction Cypress and react-testing-library are two popular frameworks used for testing applications built with React. While they both serve the purpose of testing, there are key differences that set them apart. This article will explore these differences in detail.

  1. Syntax and API: One major difference between Cypress and react-testing-library is their syntax and API. Cypress provides a rich set of commands that allow you to interact with the application as a user would, such as clicking buttons or typing in input fields. On the other hand, react-testing-library focuses on testing the behavior of React components by rendering them in a virtual DOM and then using specific queries to interact with those components.

  2. Scope of Testing: Another important difference is the scope of testing. Cypress is designed to be an end-to-end testing framework, which means it can be used to test the entire application stack, including the front-end and back-end. It allows you to simulate user interactions, as well as make assertions on the network requests and responses. On the other hand, react-testing-library is more focused on testing individual React components in isolation. It aims to test the component's behavior and state by rendering it and performing assertions on its output.

  3. Performance and Speed: Cypress provides a unique feature called "time-travel" which allows you to see and interact with the application at any point during the test. While this can be useful for debugging, it can also impact the performance and speed of your tests. In contrast, react-testing-library focuses on simplicity and speed. It aims to provide fast and efficient testing by rendering components in a virtual DOM and using lightweight queries to interact with them.

  4. Testing Philosophy: Cypress takes a different approach to testing compared to react-testing-library. Cypress encourages a "black-box" approach, where tests are written to mimic user interactions and validate the expected behavior. This can be useful for testing complex user flows or scenarios. On the other hand, react-testing-library promotes a "white-box" approach, where tests are written to focus on the component's implementation and behavior, without considering the specific user interactions.

  5. Integration with Testing Frameworks: Cypress is a standalone framework that comes with its own testing environment. It provides an easy setup process and integration with various popular testing frameworks. React-testing-library, on the other hand, is specifically designed to work with testing frameworks like Jest. It provides custom render functions and utility methods that simplify the testing process when using Jest.

  6. Community and Ecosystem: Both Cypress and react-testing-library have active and growing communities. However, react-testing-library is more widely adopted within the React community and has a larger ecosystem of tools and utilities built around it. This can make it easier to find support, resources, and examples when using react-testing-library for testing React applications.

In summary, Cypress and react-testing-library have distinct differences in terms of syntax, testing scope, performance, testing philosophy, integration with testing frameworks, and community support. Selecting the appropriate testing framework depends on the specific requirements and goals of your project.

Advice on Cypress and react-testing-library
Yildiz Dila
testmanager/automation tester at medicalservice · | 5 upvotes · 262.1K views
Needs advice

In the company I will be building test automation framework and my new company develops apps mainly using AngularJS/TypeScript. I was planning to build Protractor-Jasmine framework but a friend of mine told me about Cypress and heard that its users are very satisfied with it. I am trying to understand the capabilities of Cypress and as the final goal to differentiate these two tools. Can anyone advice me on this in a nutshell pls...

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Replies (2)
Kevin Emery
QE Systems Engineer at Discovery, Inc. · | 4 upvotes · 160.6K views

I've used both Protractor and Cypress extensively. Cypress is the easier and more reliable tool, whereas Protractor is the more powerful tool. Your choice of tool should depend on your specific testing needs. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of each tool:

Cypress advantages:

  • Faster

  • More reliable (tends to throw fewer intermittent false failures)

  • Easier to read code (handles promises gracefully)

Cypress disadvantages:

  • Cannot switch between browser tabs

  • Cannot switch to iFrames

  • Cannot specify clicks or keypresses explicitly as if a real user was interacting

  • Cannot move the mouse to specific co-ordinates

  • Sometimes has trouble switching between different top-level domains, so not good for testing external links

  • Cypress is a newer tool with less extensive documentation and less community support

Protractor advantages:

  • More powerful because it is Selenium-based - it can switch between tabs, it can handle external links to other domains, it can handle iFrames, simulate keypresses and clicks, and move the mouse to specific co-ordinates within the browser.

  • More extensive community support and documentation

Protractor disadvantages:

  • Slower and more brittle - in general there is a higher likelihood of cryptic and/or intermittent errors which may cause your tests to fail even though there is nothing wrong with your application

  • For highly experienced automation engineers, the fundamental "brittle" nature of Selenium can be worked around - it can be reliable but only if you really know what you are doing

  • Less graceful handling of promises - relies on async/await or .then to manage the order of execution. Therefore it is a bit harder to read the code.

  • Harder to set up, and the method of setup impacts its reliability. For example, a hub/node configuration where the selenium jar is on a different physical machine than the browser under test will cause unreliability in your tests. Not everyone knows about this type of thing, so it's common to find Selenium frameworks that are set up poorly.

It's probably better to use Cypress if

  • you're at a smaller company and have a close relationship with developers who can help write hooks or stubs in their code to assist your testing

  • you don't need to do things like switch between tabs or test links to external top-level domains

It's probably better to use Protractor if

  • You might need to switch between tabs or test external links to other domains within the scope of your framework

  • You want to use a more accurate simulation of how a real user interacts with a browser (i.e. click at this location, type these keys)

  • You're at a company where you won't have any support from developers in writing hooks or stubs to make their code more testable in a less powerful framework like Cypress

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Jian Wang
Web Engineer at sentaca · | 1 upvotes · 189.4K views

Please try Handow, the e2e tool basing on Puppeteer.

Gherkin syntax compatible

Chrome/Chromium orentied, driven by Puppeteer engine

Complete JavaScript programming

Create test suites rapidly without coding (or a little bit), basing on built-in steps library

Schedule test with plans and arrange stories with sequential stages

Fast running, execute story groups in parallel by multi-workers

Built-in single page report render

Cover page view, REST API and cookies test

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Decisions about Cypress and react-testing-library
Shared insights

As we all know testing is an important part of any application. To assist with our testing we are going to use both Cypress and Jest. We feel these tools complement each other and will help us get good coverage of our code. We will use Cypress for our end to end testing as we've found it quite user friendly. Jest will be used for our unit tests because we've seen how many larger companies use it with great success.

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Pros of Cypress
Pros of react-testing-library
  • 29
    Open source
  • 22
    Great documentation
  • 20
    Simple usage
  • 18
  • 10
    Cross Browser testing
  • 9
    Easy us with CI
  • 5
    Npm install cypress only
  • 1
    Good for beginner automation engineers
  • 3
    We can test behavior
  • 1
    Good documentation

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Cons of Cypress
Cons of react-testing-library
  • 21
    Cypress is weak at cross-browser testing
  • 14
    Switch tabs : Cypress can'nt support
  • 12
    No iFrame support
  • 9
    No page object support
  • 9
    No multiple domain support
  • 8
    No file upload support
  • 8
    No support for multiple tab control
  • 8
    No xPath support
  • 7
    No support for Safari
  • 7
    Cypress doesn't support native app
  • 7
    Re-run failed tests retries not supported yet
  • 7
    No support for multiple browser control
  • 5
    $20/user/thread for reports
  • 4
  • 4
    Using a non-standard automation protocol
  • 4
    Not freeware
  • 3
    No 'WD wire protocol' support
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