Testing Controllers, Services, and Directives in AngularJS

AngularJS is a powerful JavaScript framework that allows developers to build robust and scalable web applications. As with any application development, writing tests is an essential aspect of the development process, ensuring that the code behaves as expected and is free of bugs. In this article, we will dive into testing controllers, services, and directives in AngularJS and explore the various techniques and tools available.

Testing Controllers

Controllers in AngularJS play a crucial role in connecting the view with the model. They handle user interactions and update the data bindings accordingly. To test controllers effectively, we can use the built-in testing module called ngMock. This module provides a set of utilities for mocking dependencies, making it easier to isolate and test controllers.

One popular testing approach is to use the ngController function provided by the ngMock module to instantiate the controller under test. This allows us to create a new instance of the controller and access its properties and methods for testing. We can then populate the scope and invoke the controller's functions to assert the expected behavior.

describe('MyController', function() {
  var $controller, $rootScope;


  beforeEach(inject(function(_$controller_, _$rootScope_){
    $controller = _$controller_;
    $rootScope = _$rootScope_;

  it('should update the name property on button click', function() {
    var $scope = $rootScope.$new();
    var controller = $controller('MyController', { $scope: $scope });

    expect($scope.name).toEqual('John Doe');
    expect($scope.name).toEqual('Updated Name');

In the above example, we create a new instance of the MyController using the $controller function and inject the $rootScope to establish the scope. We can then test the behavior of the controller by asserting the expected values before and after invoking its functions.

Testing Services

Services in AngularJS provide a way to encapsulate reusable business logic and data manipulation. Testing services is crucial to ensure their functionality is working as expected. Similar to controllers, we can utilize the ngMock module's capabilities to mock dependencies and test services in isolation.

To test services, we can inject the service instance as a dependency and perform various assertions on its methods and properties. Additionally, we can also use the $httpBackend service provided by ngMock to test HTTP requests made by services.

describe('MyService', function() {
  var myService, $httpBackend;


  beforeEach(inject(function(_MyService_, _$httpBackend_) {
    myService = _MyService_;
    $httpBackend = _$httpBackend_;

  it('should fetch data from the server', function() {
    $httpBackend.expectGET('/api/data').respond({ message: 'Data received' });

    var successCallback = jasmine.createSpy('success');
    var errorCallback = jasmine.createSpy('error');

      .then(successCallback, errorCallback);


    expect(successCallback).toHaveBeenCalledWith({ message: 'Data received' });

In the above example, we create a new instance of the MyService and inject the $httpBackend service to mock the HTTP request. We then set expectations for the request using $httpBackend and assert the callbacks' behavior upon receiving the response.

Testing Directives

Directives in AngularJS are reusable components that manipulate the DOM and enhance the functionality of HTML elements. Testing directives can be challenging due to their interaction with the DOM. However, with the help of ngMock, we can easily create testable directives by mocking the necessary dependencies.

To test directives, we can compile them using the $compile service provided by ngMock. This compiles the directive's template and links it with a scope, allowing us to manipulate its behavior and assert the expected outcome.

describe('myDirective', function() {
  var $scope, $compile, element;


  beforeEach(inject(function(_$rootScope_, _$compile_) {
    $scope = _$rootScope_.$new();
    $compile = _$compile_;

    element = angular.element('<my-directive></my-directive>');
    element = $compile(element)($scope);

  it('should update the element text on button click', function() {
    var button = element.find('button');
    var span = element.find('span');

    expect(span.text()).toEqual('Initial Text');
    expect(span.text()).toEqual('Updated Text');

In the above example, we create a new instance of the directive's element using $compile and $scope.$digest() to compile and link the template. We can then manipulate the directive's behavior, such as simulating button clicks, and assert the expected changes in the DOM.


Testing controllers, services, and directives in AngularJS is a fundamental aspect of building reliable and maintainable applications. By leveraging the built-in testing module ngMock and its utilities, developers can effectively test these components in isolation. Whether it's asserting controller behavior, testing service functionality, or manipulating and observing directive changes in the DOM, AngularJS provides a robust framework for efficient and reliable testing.

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