Simply Testable Blog

Figuring out how to automate away the pain of routine front-end web testing; the story behind SimplyTestable.com.

211 posts covering the initial idea, growth of the service, features, advances, failures and successes.

Preamble

This wins the prize for being a long time coming.

I revealed in newsletter #21, back in mid-December last year, that the option to run site-wide JavaScript static analysis tests with JSLint had been released to all.

I mentioned at the time that I'd be adding relevant features to allow you to control how pedantic JSLint behaves for you.

The last mention I can find of me saying that this would be added is in newsletter #25 back in the middle of January, about 17 Internet years ago.

Since then I had to deal with a data apocalypse, the need to put in a workable data recovery strategy, a range of minor bug fixes and the addition of premium plans and amidst all this the changes to let you control JSLint configuration options settled under a layer or two of dust.

Last week I dusted off the relevant development branch and set to completing the work. And completed it. And recently released it.

JSLint's Default Level of Precision Is Not For Everyone

JSLint checks given JavaScript against a set of coding conventions and best practices as set down by Douglas Crockford.

Some quality factors for which it checks will help you, such as warning about missing semi-colons which are technically optional in JavaScript but which can cause problems when automatic semicolon insertion kicks in.

Other quality factors for which it checks will likely annoy you, such as preferring spaces over tabs and requiring a 4-space indentation level.

JSLint can easily be seen as pedantic.

Whilst it could be argued that if written from scratch your JavaScript will reach an optimal level of maintainability, readability and not-going-to-explode-in-IE-ability if you stick to every rule JSLint holds dear, this is often impractical in real projects.

Your project may require the adherence to coding standards not in line with what JSLint desires, you may be dealing with legacy code that works (or that you think works) and that you don't want to re-format just because JSLint dislikes it, or you simply may be happy to ignore certain quality factors so that you can focus on others you consider more immediately relevant.

JSLint's default level of precision is not for everyone, and that's why we've just introduced options to configure JSLint to suit your needs.

Find Issues You Care About; Ignore The Rest

With JSLint being so very detailed in the various code quality factors it checks, the issues about which you care can be easily lost amidst the many issues that are not immediately relevant or important to you.

When starting a new full-site or single-url test, you can now expand the JavaScript static analysis options to reveal the JSLint config options available to you.

You'll find an option to warn you about the use of eval and this is enabled by default due to strong security concerns surrounding the execution of arbitrary code.

You'll also find an option to warn you about "messy" whitespace and this is disabled by default as it is not immediately harmful or dangerous.

There are 21 on/off options to choose from. We've disabled about half by default which results in more approachable test results than was previously the case when none of the options were disabled.

You can enable or disable warnings for a range of issues as you see fit, set the maximum number of errors to tolerate (the default is 50), set the maximum allowed line length (the default is 256), set the expected intentation level (the default is 4) and provide a set of predefined variables (such as variables that may be inherited from other scripts).

You can now, in other words, more easily focus on matters that are more important and more relevant right now and ignore matters that you know can be safely ignored.