New features for ember-test-selectors

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anchorAutomatic binding of data-test-* properties

As you may know from our previous blog post on this topic, the goal of this addon is to let you use attributes starting with data-test- in your templates:

  <h1 data-test-post-title>{{post.title}}</h1>

... so that you can use these as selectors in your acceptance and integration tests:

assert.equal(find(testSelector('post-title')).text(), 'my first blog post');
//           find( '[data-test-post-title]' )

While this worked well on HTML tags, using the same pattern on components was a little more complicated. The assigned data-test-* properties needed to be bound to HTML attributes by adding them to the attributeBindings array on the component class.

One of the major changes in this new release is that modifying the attributeBindings array is now done automatically for you, so that you can just assign data-test-* properties in your templates and they will automatically appear on the <div> tag wrapping the component:

<div id="ember123" data-test-comments-for="42">
  <!-- comments -->

anchorHow we implemented this

Since we wanted to make this feature available on all components by default we had to reopen() the Ember.Component class, figure out the list of data-test-* properties on the component, and then add them to the attributeBindings array.

The natural way to do this within an addon is using an initializer, so that is what we did. Instead of putting all the logic in the initializer itself, we have extracted it into a bindDataTestAttributes() function, which we were now able to unit test separately.

As we are committed to not including any unnecessary code in your production builds, we also had to make sure to not include the initializer and utility function in there. Since both of those are part of our addon and app folders, which are included in your builds by default, we borrowed a "trick" from ember-cli-chai which only includes both folders if we are in testing mode.

module.exports = {
  // ...

  treeForAddon: function () {
    // only include our "addon" folder in the build if we're testing
    if ( {
      return this._super.treeForAddon.apply(this, arguments);

  treeForApp: function () {
    // only include our "app" folder in the build if we're testing
    if ( {
      return this._super.treeForApp.apply(this, arguments);

UPDATE: After releasing 0.1.0 we were notified that this feature was not working for component integration tests, which was actually a pretty obvious problem as initializers are not running for these kinds of tests. After thinking about the issue for a few hours we came up with a solution that seems to work even better now. Instead of calling Component.reopen() in an initializer we are now doing it in a file in our vendor folder, which is always being run before any tests are executed.

We have released 0.1.1 including this change and are now also warning you if you try to use data-test-* attributes on tagless components.

anchorStripping out data-test-* attributes in templates

Our initial goal with this library was stripping our data-test-* attributes from HTML tags in your templates. In the previous section we implemented automatic bindings for data-test-* properties on components now too, but these properties were not stripped from the template yet.

To modify templates from within an addon our best bet was to use an AST transform on the Handlebars AST, that we get from the template parser. This can be accomplished by registering a Handlebars AST plugin in the setupPreprocessorRegistry() hook of the addon:

module.exports = {
  // ...

  setupPreprocessorRegistry: function(type, registry) {
    if (type === 'parent' && ! {
      registry.add('htmlbars-ast-plugin', {
        name: 'strip-test-selectors',
        plugin: require('./strip-test-selectors'),
        baseDir: function() { return __dirname; }

While this AST transform already existed in the previous releases, it was only able to handle data-test-* attributes on HTML tags (called ElementNode), but not on curly components yet:

var TEST_SELECTOR_PREFIX = /data-test-.*/;

module.exports = class {
  transform(ast) {
    var walker = new this.syntax.Walker();

    walker.visit(ast, function (node) {
      if (node.type === 'ElementNode') {
        node.attributes = node.attributes.filter(function (attribute) {
          return !TEST_SELECTOR_PREFIX.test(;

    return ast;

You can try out what this transform does in the AST explorer.

Fortunately for us the code to make this AST transform work for curly components is very similar:

if (node.type === 'MustacheStatement' || node.type === 'BlockStatement') {
  node.hash.pairs = node.hash.pairs.filter(function (pair) {
    return !TEST_SELECTOR_PREFIX.test(pair.key);

If you try the same example template in the AST explorer, but with the modified transform code, you will notice that the part of the some-component invocation is now gone.

anchorStripping out data-test-* properties in JS files

While one way of assigning data attributes to a component is in the template, data attributes can also be defined as properties on the component class. So instead of assigning data-test-comment-id inside the loop:

{{#each comments as |comment|}}
  {{comment-list-item comment=comment}}

... we could also use a computed property inside the component that mirrors

export default Ember.Component({
  comment: null,
  'data-test-comment-id': Ember.computed.readOnly(''),

Unfortunately we have now have a property that is not stripped by the AST transform described in the previous section. At this point we could have used a similar strategy as before and added a JavaScript preprocessor, that strips all those properties from the code, but instead we hooked into the existing JavaScript processing pipeline using Babel.

Fortunately for us the fantastic AST explorer also supports prototyping Babel plugins and so we came up with a simple plugin that basically just removes data-test-* properties from all the objects in your code:

var TEST_SELECTOR_PREFIX = /data-test-.*/;

module.exports = function (babel) {
  return new babel.Plugin('ember-test-selectors', {
    visitor: {
      Property: function (node) {
        if (TEST_SELECTOR_PREFIX.test(node.key.value)) {

With the Babel plugin done, all we had left to do was making sure that your app actually uses that plugin at build time. While this is not quite public API and may change in the future we have found a way to accomplish that in the official ember-cli-htmlbars-inline-precompile addon:

module.exports = {
  // ...

  included: function (app) {
    this._super.included.apply(this, arguments);

    // add the StripDataTestPropertiesPlugin to the list of plugins used by
    // the `ember-cli-babel` addon
    if (!app.tests) {
      app.options = app.options || {};
      app.options.babel = app.options.babel || {};
      app.options.babel.plugins = app.options.babel.plugins || [];


anchorTesting in production mode

In our previous releases we had offered an environments option to let you choose when to strip attributes and when to keep them in the templates. The default of this option was set to ['production'], which made sense at the time.

Since then we had discovered though that this will keep you from running your tests in production mode using ember test --environment=production. Instead of just checking the environment we are now making use of the (not yet documented) tests property on the EmberApp class in Ember CLI.

This property will be true when using the development environment with either ember build, ember serve or ember test, or it will be true when using ember test --environment=production. That makes sure that we still strip all the data-test-* attributes from your code in production builds, but you should now again be able to also test your production builds using test selectors.

Since we previously offered an option to override our defaults, we were committed to doing the same for the new defaults. For this we have deprecated this existing environments option, and introduced a new strip option, which can be set to true or false, but defaults to the tests property described above:

var app = new EmberApp({
  'ember-test-selectors': {
    strip: false,

Note that using the environments option still works, but is deprecated and will be removed by the time we release 1.0.0.

anchorSimplified testSelector() import

The testSelector() helper function can be used to simplify building the CSS/jQuery selector strings used for find() or this.$() in your tests. Previously you had to import that function from <app-name>/tests/helpers/ember-test-selectors, but since our addon folder is now removed from the build in production we were able to simplify that import to just this:

import testSelector from 'ember-test-selectors';

We hope you enjoyed reading about our progress on this project and we would love to get feedback on what else we can improve. Feel free to reach out!

Note: The code examples in this blog posts are simplified to be easier to digest. Please refer to the actual implementation if you want to see all the glory details.

anchorIf you're facing challenges with Ember.js and need a helping hand, reach out!

Contact us!

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