Troubleshooting ReferenceError in Angular 6 Unit Tests: Can’t Find Variable Thrown

Troubleshooting ReferenceError in Angular 6 Unit Tests: Can't Find Variable Thrown

Encountering an error in your Angular 6 unit tests, specifically a reference error in the afterAll block where a variable cannot be found, can be a frustrating roadblock in your development process. This issue often stems from variable scoping problems and can hinder the smooth execution of your tests. However, fret not, as there are effective strategies and solutions to address this error and ensure the successful completion of your unit tests.

Let’s delve into the details and explore the best practices to overcome the ‘Angular 6 unit tests an error was thrown in afterAll referenceerror can’t find variable thrown’ scenario.

Troubleshooting Angular 6 Unit Test Errors

The error message you’re encountering during your Angular 6 unit tests—specifically in the afterAll block—is related to a reference error where it can’t find a variable. Let’s explore some potential solutions:

  1. Race Condition in Tests:

    • Sometimes, even if the tests pass individually, they might fail when running together due to race conditions.
    • Check if you have multiple beforeEach blocks. If one of them is asynchronous (e.g., using async(() => {...})), it could lead to out-of-order execution.
    • Consider consolidating your setup into a single synchronous beforeEach block:
      beforeEach(() => {
          declarations: [HomeComponent]
        fixture = TestBed.createComponent(HomeComponent);
        component = fixture.componentInstance;
    • This ensures that all setup steps are executed in the correct order and avoids race conditions.
  2. Skipping Tests:

    • If you’re unsure which specific test is causing the error, you can temporarily skip all tests using xdescribe instead of describe.
    • This way, you can narrow down the problematic test and investigate further.
  3. Check for Iterables:

    • Sometimes, errors in the afterAll block can be related to iterable objects (e.g., arrays, maps, sets).
    • Ensure that any iterable objects you’re using are correctly defined and accessible within the test suite.

Angular 6 Unit Test Variable Scope Error Resolution

When writing unit tests for an Angular 6 application, encountering variable scope errors can be frustrating. Let’s address the issue you’re facing.

In your test, you’re trying to access the $scope variable, but it’s not defined. The problem lies in how you’re setting up your controller and its associated scope. Let’s break down the solution step by step:

  1. Controller Setup:

    • You’ve defined a controller named siteCtrl within the siteLogic module.
    • In your controller, you’re using $scope to manage the addingSite boolean value.
  2. Test Configuration:

    • You’re using Jasmine for testing.
    • Your test file includes the necessary Angular dependencies and your controller code.
  3. Test Case Issue:

    • The error occurs in the second test case:
      it('sets false if true', function() {
          $scope.addingSite = true; // There is no $scope
      • The issue is that you’re trying to access $scope directly, but it’s not defined in your test setup.
  4. Solution:

    • Instead of using $scope, use the scope variable that you’ve defined in your test setup.
    • Update the test case as follows:
      it('sets false if true', function() {
          scope.addingSite = true; // Use 'scope' instead of '$scope'
  5. Revised Controller Code:

    • Make sure your controller sets up the addingSite property on the correct scope:
      var siteLogic = angular.module('siteLogic', []);
      siteLogic.controller('siteCtrl', ['$scope', function($scope) {
          $scope.addingSite = false;
          $scope.changeAddingSite = function() {
              $scope.addingSite = !$scope.addingSite;
  6. Test Initialization:

    • In your test setup, create a new scope using $rootScope.$new():
      var scope, controller;
      beforeEach(inject(function($controller, $rootScope) {
          scope = $rootScope.$new();
          controller = $controller('siteCtrl', { $scope: scope });
  7. Test Cases:

    • Ensure that both test cases use the scope variable:
      it('sets true if false', function() {
          scope.addingSite = false;
      it('sets false if true', function() {
          scope.addingSite = true;

Troubleshooting Angular 6 Unit Test Errors

The “Can’t find variable” error in Angular 6 unit tests can be frustrating, but let’s tackle it step by step.

  1. Check the Browser Console:
    When you encounter this error, first check the browser console opened by Karma. There should be a stack trace that provides more information about which variable is causing the issue. This stack trace can help you pinpoint the problem and fix it.

  2. Race Conditions:
    Sometimes, unreliable tests can be due to race conditions. In your test setup, ensure that you don’t have conflicting asynchronous beforeEach functions. For example, if you have two beforeEach blocks—one synchronous and one asynchronous—there might be a race condition.

    Consolidate your setup into a single synchronous beforeEach to avoid such issues.

    Example (Corrected Setup):

    beforeEach(() => {
            declarations: [HomeComponent]
        fixture = TestBed.createComponent(HomeComponent);
        component = fixture.componentInstance;
  3. Compile Components:
    If you’re using ng test, calling compileComponents() is unnecessary since the Angular CLI already compiles components for you. Refer to the official Angular testing guide for more details.

  4. Check Dependencies:
    Ensure that any external dependencies (e.g., libraries, global variables) are correctly imported or declared. For instance, if you’re using a global variable like moment, make sure it’s properly defined or imported.

  5. Debugging Tools:
    Use Karma’s debugging features to narrow down the issue. You can edit test messages and monitor them in the Karma console. For example, you can modify the message in an it block to identify which specific test failed.

Effective Strategies for Writing Robust Unit Tests in Angular

Writing robust unit tests is crucial for maintaining the quality and reliability of your Angular applications. Let’s explore some effective strategies for achieving this:

  1. Keep Tests Isolated:

    • Each unit test should focus on testing a single component, service, or directive in isolation.
    • Avoid testing multiple units together to ensure clear and reliable test results.
  2. Use Test Doubles:

    • Test doubles (such as mocks, stubs, and spies) allow you to isolate the unit under test from its dependencies.
    • Use these doubles to simulate external services, APIs, or other components.
  3. Test Behavior, Not Implementation:

    • Focus on testing the public API and behavior of your components and services.
    • Avoid testing implementation details, as they may change frequently.
  4. Test Both Positive and Negative Scenarios:

    • Cover edge cases, error handling, and unexpected inputs.
    • Ensure that your code behaves correctly under various conditions.
  5. Arrange-Act-Assert (AAA) Pattern:

    • Organize your tests into three sections:
      • Arrange: Set up the test environment (create components, mock services, etc.).
      • Act: Perform the action (call methods, trigger events, etc.).
      • Assert: Verify the expected outcomes (check properties, DOM changes, etc.).
  6. Use TestBed:

    • Angular’s TestBed provides a powerful way to configure and create components for testing.
    • Initialize the testing environment using TestBed.configureTestingModule({ declarations: [YourComponent] }).
  7. Mock Dependencies:

    • Use Jasmine spies or custom mock classes to simulate dependencies (services, pipes, etc.).
    • Isolate the unit under test by providing mock implementations.
  8. Run Tests Regularly:

    • Execute tests frequently during development.
    • Catch issues early and ensure that changes don’t break existing functionality.
  9. Use Descriptive Test Names:

    • Name your tests clearly to convey their purpose.
    • A descriptive name makes it easier to understand the test’s intent.
  10. Leverage Angular Testing Utilities:

    • Explore Angular’s built-in testing utilities like async, fakeAsync, and tick() for handling asynchronous operations.
    • Use fixture.detectChanges() to trigger change detection.

For a practical example, let’s consider writing a unit test for an Angular component. Suppose you have a simple CalculatorComponent that performs basic arithmetic operations:

import { ComponentFixture, TestBed } from '@angular/core/testing';
import { CalculatorComponent } from './calculator.component';

describe('CalculatorComponent', () => {
  let component: CalculatorComponent;
  let fixture: ComponentFixture;

  beforeEach(async () => {
    await TestBed.configureTestingModule({
      declarations: [CalculatorComponent],

  beforeEach(() => {
    fixture = TestBed.createComponent(CalculatorComponent);
    component = fixture.componentInstance;

  it('should create the component', () => {

  it('should add two numbers correctly', () => {
    const result = component.add(5, 3);

  it('should subtract two numbers correctly', () => {
    const result = component.subtract(10, 4);

For more in-depth information, check out the Angular Testing documentation.

Advanced Angular 6 Unit Testing Techniques

Let’s delve into some advanced Angular 6 unit testing techniques. Testing is a crucial aspect of software development, ensuring that our code functions as expected and remains robust. Here are some strategies and best practices for effective unit testing in Angular:

  1. Isolated Unit Testing:

    • Isolated tests focus on testing a specific unit (such as a service or a pure function) in isolation.
    • External dependencies should be mocked out using tools like Spies.
    • For example, when testing a service, you can isolate it from its dependencies (such as HTTP calls) and verify its behavior independently.
  2. Testing Pyramid:

    • The testing pyramid suggests a distribution of different types of tests:
      • Unit Tests: Approximately 80% of your tests should be unit tests. These cover individual components, services, and pure functions.
      • Integration Tests: Around 15% of tests are integration tests that verify interactions between components.
      • UI/E2E Tests: The remaining 5% are UI or end-to-end (E2E) tests that validate the entire application flow.
    • Prioritize unit tests due to their efficiency and ability to catch issues early in the development process.
  3. Static Typing as Part of Unit Tests:

    • In Angular apps, static typing (provided by TypeScript) contributes to unit test coverage.
    • While achieving 100% code coverage for every component may not be practical, focus on essential areas: services, pure functions, and container components.
  4. Automated Testing Courses:

    • Consider taking courses like “Angular Unit Testing” on platforms like Pluralsight.
    • These courses cover everything you need to know about unit testing in Angular, including testing services, component templates, and handling asynchronous code.
  5. Best Practices:

    • Follow best practices for Angular unit testing:
      • Arrange-Act-Assert (AAA) pattern: Organize your tests into these three sections.
      • Use TestBed: Create an Angular testing module to configure dependencies.
      • Test Services: Ensure services behave as expected.
      • Test Components: Verify component behavior, including template rendering and event handling.
      • Mock Dependencies: Use Spies to mock external dependencies.
      • Handle Asynchronous Code: Use async and fakeAsync when dealing with asynchronous operations.
      • Test Error Handling: Cover error scenarios.
      • Test Routing and Navigation: Validate route changes.
      • Use Jasmine Matchers: Leverage matchers for assertions.
      • Test Directives and Pipes: Verify custom directives and pipes.

For more detailed information, you can also refer to the official Angular Testing Guide provided by the Angular team.

In conclusion, tackling the ‘Angular 6 unit tests an error was thrown in afterAll referenceerror can’t find variable thrown’ error requires a methodical approach and attention to detail. By implementing solutions such as addressing race conditions, checking for iterables, and ensuring proper variable setup, you can troubleshoot and resolve the error effectively. Additionally, embracing best practices in unit testing, maintaining test isolation, and leveraging testing utilities can enhance the reliability and effectiveness of your Angular 6 unit tests.

Remember, perseverance and a structured testing approach are key to overcoming challenges like variable scope errors in Angular 6 unit testing. Keep honing your testing skills and refining your methodologies to ensure the stability and quality of your Angular applications.


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