> Lightweight test framework for JavaScript/Node
Last updated 3 years ago by everbuild .
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$ cnpm install thintest 
SYNC missed versions from official npm registry.

Lightweight test framework for JavaScript/Node

A down to earth test framework for Node that allows you to write your tests in plain JavaScript/ES6, using whatever assertion mechanism you prefer. There's no magic framework syntax, so no transpilation is needed and running and debugging tests is fast and easy! It can be used for unit testing or integration testing, and supports asynchronous tests.

To see what a thin test looks like, jump right to here.


  1. Install
  2. Usage
  3. Config
  4. Tests
  5. API
  6. Limitations


$ npm install --saveDev thintest

You can add --global to install the "binary" globally, but it's usually not necessary as thintest can be easily setup through NPM scripts.


As npm test script:

// package.json
  "scripts": {
    "test": "thintest"
  "thintest": {
    // options

Directly via command-line:

$ [node_modules/.bin/]thintest --testDir=test common/**/* user/**/* 

--testDir sets the parent dir containing your tests (relative to cwd), and is completely redundant here as 'test' is the default. The glob expressions at the end describe paths to the test files to be run, relative to your test dir. If no such files are specified, all tests in your test dir are run.

(The node_modules/.bin/ prefix is not needed with a --global install.)

For details and other options, see Config.

It's also possible to run any test file directly simply via the trusted node command (also works from within your IDE, just saying):

$ node my-awesome-test 

Note however that it's not possible to pass any CLI parameters (like the --testDir above) this way. Therefore it's advised to setup all common options in your package.json and use CLI parameters for exceptional cases only.

Finally, if you're integrating with other tools, you can also use the API.


Config can be done either:

  1. by adding a "thintest": {options} entry to your package.json
  2. via CLI parameters
  3. if using the API: via the options argument

Each one overriding the previous, i.e. if an option is defined in your package.json, you can override it with the same CLI parameter. (Note that the API doesn't consider CLI parameters, that's up to you.)

option CLI parameter Default Meaning
testDir --testDir=<path> "test" Path containing your test files
srcDir --srcDir=<path> "src" Path containing your source files
assert --assert "assert" Module ID of assert package to inject into your tests
failFast --failFast, -f false Skip further tests as soon as possible after a failed test
maxConcur --maxConcur, -c 10 Limit the number of tests to run simultaneously
baseDir --baseDir location of the nearest package.json from cwd up Path to root dir of your project, containing your package.json. Used to load your package.json and as base for other relative paths. Useful for running thintest from a dir that is not in your project tree.
expandAll --expandAll, -a false Also include details about successful and skipped tests in the output
stackLimit --stackLimit 5 Limit the number of stack frames to print for failed tests
progressSize --progressSize 40 Number of characters to use for the progress bar



// file: test/users/manager.js

require('thintest').test(class { // tests are specified by ES6 classes

    testRootUser() { // each method defines a test case
        // this.subject is a getter property returning the exported value from the inferred subject module
        // with standard config, this would be 'src/users/manager.js' in this case.
        const root = this.subject.getRoot()
        // for your convenience, all members of the configured assert lib are assigned to 'this'
        this.equal(, 0)
        this.deepStrictEqual(, {first: 'Emmanuel', last: 'Macron'})

    'we can load the test user'() { // if you like you could use strings as method names!
        const id = 'test-user-id'
        // for async testing, just return a promise!
        // the test case will be considered done when the promise resolves
        // rejected promises result in test failures
        return this.subject.load(id).then(user => { 
            this.equal(, id)
            // ...
    // ...

More about this.subject

thintest infers the path of the subject module based on the path of your test file. It basically takes the part of the path after testDir and adds that to srcDir, therefore these 2 options need to be setup correctly for this to work. The path is then required and the exported value is returned from the getter. This is merely a convenience feature and you're definitely not obliged to use it. Since it's a getter property, it will only be run when you actually use it.

Sometimes however, creating a subject is more complex or there's no corresponding source module. In those cases you can still use the convenience of this.subject by setting it yourself in the constructor of your test class. If thintest detects this, it will leave your subject as is and won't create a getter.


require('thintest').test(class {

    constructor(subjectPath) { // you still get the inferred subject path for free, off course you don't need to use it
        const SubjectClass = require(subjectPath)
        this.subject = new SubjectClass()
    // ...

More about assertions

You can use any assertion lib you like. Standard Node assert is often all you need, but there are plenty flavours.

Any errors thrown by your tests will be caught, reported and will be considered as test failures.

Require your assertion lib yourself in each test file or ask thintest nicely to inject it so you can access it's functions via this, see Config.

More about test execution

thintest launches batches of maxConcur tests in parallel. This may be a bit misleading as sync tests will still execute sequentially (this is still JavaScript, no multi-threading). You will benefit from this more with async tests, as they won't block other tests from running (as long as < maxConcur tests are busy simultaneously).

Within tests however, test case methods always run sequentially. Even when they're async, the next case will only execute after the previous promise is resolved. A new instance of your test class is created before running each test case.

The failFast option can be convenient in a release script. You probably don't want to release if any test fails and you don't really care at this point how many other tests might succeed. Don't be surprised however if failFast doesn't stop your tests immediately. Because maxConcur tests are launched in parallel, all running tests will still complete. If you only have few tests it can appear as if failFast isn't working at all. Tweaking the maxConcur option in these cases may help. It really should've been called failAsFastAsPossible.


const tt = require('thintest')[{options}], ...tests).then(report => {
    report.hasFailures() // true if any tests failed
    report.toString() // generate a string representing this report
    report.print() // just prints the toString()

    // array of executed tests
    report.tests.forEach(test => { // name of the test, e.g. "dir 1 : dir 2 : filename"
        test.file // absolute path to test file
        test.relative // relative path to test file
        test.subjectFile // absolute path to subject file
        test.result // overall test result: tt.SUCCEEDED | tt.FAILED | tt.SKIPPED
        test.methods // object mapping executed methods to results: {"method name": tt.SUCCEEDED | tt.SKIPPED | error object/value }


  • There are currently no plans to support testing against or in a (virtual) browser.
  • The minimalistic philosophy of thintest also means that the test "vocabulary" (plain JS) is perhaps too limited to some people's taste.

Other tools exist that are more suited in those cases.

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