This article shows how to get three.js into a [link:https://nodejs.org/en/ node.js] environment so that you can execute automated tests. Tests can be run on the command line, or by automated CI tools like [link:https://travis-ci.org/ Travis].

The short version

If you're comfortable with node and npm, $ npm install three --save-dev and add const THREE = require('three'); to your test.

Create a testable project from scratch

If you're not familiar with these tools, here's a quick guide (for linux, the installation process will be slightly different using windows, but the NPM commands are identical).

Basic setup

  1. Install [link:https://www.npmjs.org/ npm] and nodejs. The shortest path typically looks something like $ sudo apt-get install -y npm nodejs-legacy # fix any problems with SSL in the default registry URL $ npm config set registry http://registry.npmjs.org/
  2. Make a new project directory $ mkdir test-example; cd test-example
  3. Ask npm to create a new project file for you: $ npm init and accept all defaults by hitting Enter on all the prompts. This will create package.json.

  4. Try and start the test feature with $ npm test This will fail, which is expected. If you look in the package.json, the definition of the test script is "test": "echo \"Error: no test specified\" && exit 1"

Add mocha

We're going to use [link:https://mochajs.org/ mocha].
  1. Install mocha with $ npm install mocha --save-dev Notice that node_modules/ is created and your dependencies appear in there. Also notice that your package.json has been updated: the property devDependencies is added and updated by the use of --save-dev.

  2. Edit package.json to use mocha for testing. When test is invoked, we just want to run mocha and specify a verbose reporter. By default this will run anything in test/ (not having directory test/ can run into npm ERR!, create it by mkdir test) "test": "mocha --reporter list"
  3. Rerun the test with $ npm test This should now succeed, reporting 0 passing (1ms) or similar.

Add three.js

  1. Let's pull in our three.js dependency with $ npm install three --save-dev
    • If you need a different three version, use $ npm show three versions to see what's available. To tell npm the right one, use $ npm install three@0.84.0 --save (0.84.0 in this example). --save makes this a dependency of this project, rather than dev dependency. See the docs [link:https://www.npmjs.org/doc/json.html here] for more info.
  2. Mocha will look for tests in test/, so let's $ mkdir test
  3. Finally we actually need a JS test to run. Let's add a simple test that will verify that the three.js object is available and working. Create test/verify-three.js containing: const THREE = require('three'); const assert = require('assert'); describe('The THREE object', function() { it('should have a defined BasicShadowMap constant', function() { assert.notEqual('undefined', THREE.BasicShadowMap); }), it('should be able to construct a Vector3 with default of x=0', function() { const vec3 = new THREE.Vector3(); assert.equal(0, vec3.x); }) })
  4. Finally let's test again with $ npm test. This should run the tests above and succeed, showing something like: The THREE object should have a defined BasicShadowMap constant: 0ms The THREE object should be able to construct a Vector3 with default of x=0: 0ms 2 passing (8ms)

Add your own code

You need to do three things:
  1. Write a test for the expected behaviour of your code, and place it under test/. [link:https://github.com/air/encounter/blob/master/test/Physics-test.js Here] is an example from a real project.
  2. Export your functional code in such a way that nodejs can see it, for use in conjunction with require. See it [link:https://github.com/air/encounter/blob/master/js/Physics.js here].
  3. Require your code into the test file, in the same way we did a require('three') in the example above.

Items 2 and 3 will vary depending on how you manage your code. In the example of Physics.js given above, the export part is right at the end. We assign an object to module.exports:

//============================================================================= // make available in nodejs //============================================================================= if (typeof exports !== 'undefined') { module.exports = Physics; }

Dealing with dependencies

If you're already using something clever like require.js or browserify, skip this part.

Typically a three.js project is going to run in the browser. Module loading is hence done by the browser executing a bunch of script tags. Your individual files don't have to worry about dependencies. In a nodejs context however, there is no index.html binding everything together, so you have to be explicit.

If you're exporting a module that depends on other files, you're going to have to tell node to load them. Here is one approach:

  1. At the start of your module, check to see if you're in a nodejs environment.
  2. If so, explicitly declare your dependencies.
  3. If not, you're probably in a browser so you don't need to do anything else.
Example code from Physics.js: //============================================================================= // setup for server-side testing //============================================================================= if (typeof require === 'function') // test for nodejs environment { const THREE = require('three'); const MY3 = require('./MY3.js'); }