Zakzak is a unit-test-like benchmarking framework for Node.js
Last updated 2 months ago by dynatrace-nodejs .
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When you need to make sure that your code is fast.

Zakzak makes microbenchmarking in node.js projects easier and automated, by using a "unit test"-like approach.

Zakzak is release under the Apache 2.0 license. Zakzak is built with and supports Typescript

Table of Contents


Similar to unit tests, you create *.benchmark.js files, in which you define your benchmarks. If you've worked with mocha.js before, you will find this approach familiar.

import { suite, benchmark } from "@dynatrace/zakzak";

suite("crypto-functions", () => {
  benchmark("encryptMessage", () => {
    const msg = "foobar";

  benchmark("hashSomePassword", () => {

Then you run the benchmarks, using the cli.

$ zakzak --path ./src/benchmarks --exporter json

You can also take a look at the demo project, to see how zakzak is used.


Define benchmarks

Benchmarks are easily defined. Just write the following and make sure zakzak reads the file where the benchmark was defined.

benchmark("some-name", () => {

I recommend putting these definitions in separate files, and to name those files with a specific pattern, so zakzak can find them using a glob pattern. Zakzak uses globby internally. The default filepattern is *.benchmark.js, but you can provide a different pattern using CLI params or the config.

While it is possible to define these benchmarks in your source code, I highly advise against it. zakzak uses require to read all the files you point it to and thus executes them.

Structure the benchmarks using suites

A suite is just a fancy way of grouping benchmarks or suites together and applying options.

suite("suite-name", () => {
  benchmark("some-name", () => {

Suites can also be nested and contain other suites, building a hierarchy.

suite("momma-suite", () => {
  benchmark("some-name", () => {
  suite("suite child", () => {
    suite("suite niece", () => {
      suite("such a 'suite' boy", () => {
        benchmark("benchy", () => {
    benchmark("benchling", () => {

There is no limit as to how many nested levels or children you can have.

Note: Every file is per default a suite. So even if you don't define any suites, a benchmark will always be a child of a suite. This is done to keep track of the structure and location of benchmarks.

Setup and Teardown

setup() and teardown() are two more functions, that can be utilized in the .benchmark.ts files. As their names suggest, they run setup and teardown code, before and after the benchmarking. Important to note is, that code is only run once before and/or after the benchmarking, and is not repeated everytime the benchmarking code runs.

suite("demo", ()=>{
    dbconnection = connectToDb();

The hierarchy system using suites can be also be leveraged by lifetime functions, such as setup and teardown. Lifetime functions from a parent suite also apply to all child suites, however there is a order in which parent and child lifetime functions are executed. For setup functions it works like this.

suite("a", () => {
  setup(() => {}); // is executed first
  suite("b", () => {
    setup(() => {}); // is executed second

For teardown functions the order is reversed.

suite("a", () => {
  teardown(() => {}); // is executed second
  suite("b", () => {
    teardown(() => {}); // is executed first

Async Benchmarks

To Benchmark asynchronous stuff, either return a Promise that resolves, onces you're finished or mark you function as async (which makes it return a promise).

benchmark("promise", () => {
  return willReturnAPromise();

benchmark("async-await", async () => {

Memory benchmark

You can also get some memory readings from the benchmarks. For that you just have to set the memoryBenchmark flag in the configuration to true.


There multiple ways to configure your benchmarks:

  • Using the CLI params
  • Using a config
  • In the benchmark files using the options param
  • Not at all. Just use the default values

These options are non exclusive, meaning that if you use one of these options, that does not prohibit you from using one of the others additionally. If two configuration types however define a value for the same option, the one with higher priority will be taken. The priorities are the following, listed from low to high.

Default -> Config -> CLI Param -> Suite options -> Benchmark options

In the benchmark files, you apply options like this.

  () => {
  { minSamples: 20, maxSamples: 50 }, // options

You can also pass the options to a suite, which will then apply those to it's children. However, if an enclosed suite or benchmark has it's own options, then those will be prioritized over the options of the parent suite.

  () => {
    // has minSamples: 10
    benchmark("some-name", () => {
  { minSamples: 10 },

Defining options is optional, no matter what type of configuration is used. If none of the configuration types provides a value for an options field, then the default values of the framework will be used.


The CLI tool is used to find, structure and run the benchmarks. Per default, it will look for a zakzak.config.json in the current working directory. If it doesn't find this config, it will use the default values of the framework. You can also override some of the settings using the CLI params.

  • -v, --version: Output the version number of zakzak.
  • -p, --pattern <pattern>: Glob pattern used to match the targeted files.
  • -P, --path <path>: Relative or absolute path to folder which contains the files.
  • -c, --config <path>: Relative or absolute path to the config. Default is zakzak.config.json.
  • -e, --exporter <path-or-name>: Add an additional exporter. Can be one of the default exporters, i.e. console, console-async, xml, json, hierarchy and csv or a custom exporter. If it's a custom exporter then enter the path to the file containing it.
  • --init: Initializes a project by creating a zakzak.config.json with the default values.
  • -h, --help: Prints information on the cli and it's usage.

Custom Exporter

If the default exporters can't do what you need, you can always write a custom exporter and pass it to zakzak. Just create a new .js file, where you define a new class that extends Exporter.

Note: It's easier to explain this using Typescript code. Just leave the types if you're writing in javascript.

import { Exporter, Suite, BenchmarkResult } from "@dynatrace/zakzak";

export class AwsS3Exporter extends Exporter {
  onHierarchy(root: Suite[]): void {
  onResult(result: BenchmarkResult): void {
  onFinished(results: BenchmarkResult[]): void {
  onError(error: Error, id: string): void {
    console.log(id + " " + error.message);

The exporter gets its information using an EventEmitter that is passed to the constructor. The onHierarchy, onResult, onFinished are set in the base constructor and automatically handle their specific events.

onHierarchy gets triggered once zakzak has found all benchmarks, suite and their hierarchy. You can traverse this tree-hierarchy by accessing the children of a suite and the children of those children, until there are no more children.

onResult is triggered as soon as a benchmark finishes and outputs its results. This can be used to have a live preview of which benchmarks are still running and which are already finished.

onFinished returns the results of all the benchmarks, once they are all finished.

onError returns an error that has been thrown during a benchmark and the id of the benchmark.

Typescript support

zakzak is written in Typescript, so it comes with it's own set of type definitions. The CLI however, can only use .js files, so you have to point it to the compiled/transpiled .js files and not the .ts files.



Note: zakzak might work with earlier versions of node, but is yet to be tested with those.

  • Node.js @8.x or higher
  • NPM @6.4.x or higher

Using npm

Install @dynatrace/zakzak globally or locally in your project using npm.

$ npm install -g @dynatrace/zakzak # global
$ npm install --save-dev @dynatrace/zakzak # local

You can then initialize your project, which creates a zakzak.config.json in your directory.

$ zakzak --init




While this work was done without directly copying anything from other projects, the core benchmark logic was inspired by the logic from benchmark.js by Mathias Bynens.


Copyright 2019 Dynatrace LLC

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); You may obtain a copy of the License at


Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.

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