Testing asynchronous Angular code with fakeAsync()

Testing asynchronous Angular code with fakeAsync()

Develop straightforward asynchronous tests without the need for callbacks or promise awaiting.

Testing asynchronous code in Angular applications can often be challenging due to the complexity and timing issues associated with asynchronous operations. To simplify this process and make tests more reliable and easier to write, Angular provides a utility function called fakeAsync. This function is instrumental in testing asynchronous code by simulating synchronous execution, allowing for a more straightforward and controlled testing environment. Understanding how, why, and when to use fakeAsync is crucial for developers looking to ensure their applications behave as expected under various conditions.

Why UsefakeAsync

The primary reason to use fakeAsync is to simplify testing asynchronous operations. Without fakeAsync, testing asynchronous code requires managing potentially complex chains of promises or observables, along with their completion callbacks. This can lead to cumbersome and hard-to-read tests. fakeAsync, on the other hand, allows for a more linear, easy-to-understand approach by simulating synchronous execution. It also helps in avoiding the intricacies of JavaScript's event loop and timing issues, making tests more reliable.

When to UsefakeAsync

fakeAsync is particularly useful when testing code that involves time-based operations, such as debouncing or throttling, or when dealing with multiple asynchronous operations that need to be synchronized within a test. It is also beneficial in scenarios where the precise control over the execution timing of promises or observables is necessary to assert the state of the application accurately.

However, it's important to note that fakeAsync cannot be used in conjunction with real asynchronous operations that involve HTTP requests or timer functions like setInterval that are not controlled by Angular's testing environment. For these cases, Angular provides other testing utilities like async and waitForAsync.

How to UsefakeAsync (basic example)

The fakeAsync function wraps around a test function, enabling the use of tick(), flush(), and flushMicrotasks() within it to control the timing of asynchronous operations. Here's a basic example of its usage:

import { fakeAsync, tick } from '@angular/core/testing';

it('should execute asynchronous code synchronously', fakeAsync(() => {
  let flag = false;

  setTimeout(() => {
    flag = true;
  }, 100);

  tick(100); // Simulate the passage of 100 milliseconds


In this example, fakeAsync allows the test to pause execution until the setTimeout is executed by using the tick function. This makes it seem as though the asynchronous code executes synchronously.

That's great, but how often are we really testing a setTimeout like this? Let's look at a usage example in a more common Angular context.

How to UsefakeAsync(Angular component example)

Let's assume that in the following example, component.getData is a function that performs some sort of asynchronous operation and then populates component.data with some data.

import { TestBed, fakeAsync, tick, flush, ComponentFixture } from '@angular/core/testing';
import { MyService } from './my.service';
import { MyComponent } from './my.component';
import { of } from 'rxjs';

describe('MyComponent', () => {
  let component: MyComponent;
  let fixture: ComponentFixture<MyComponent>;
  let myService: MyService;

  beforeEach(() => {
      declarations: [MyComponent],
      providers: [MyService]

    fixture = TestBed.createComponent(MyComponent);
    component = fixture.componentInstance;
    myService = TestBed.inject(MyService);

  it('should update data after async operation', fakeAsync(() => {
    const mockData = 'Mock data';
    spyOn(myService, 'getData').and.returnValue(of(mockData));

    tick(); // Simulate the passage of time until all pending asynchronous activities finish

    flush(); // Ensure no more microtasks are left

As you can see, fakeAsync allows us to write our test in a more sequential order without relying on any necessary callbacks or awaiting promises.

In conclusion, fakeAsync is a powerful tool for simplifying the testing of asynchronous code in Angular applications. By allowing developers to write tests that simulate synchronous execution, it makes it easier to ensure the reliability and correctness of asynchronous operations. Proper understanding and utilization of fakeAsync can significantly enhance the quality and maintainability of Angular tests.