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Paula Penedo (she/her)
Paula Penedo (she/her)

Posted on • Originally published at

Testing Next.js 13 App Router architecture is... complicated

I've been trying to get back into coding daily and decided to start a side project using Next.js 13 new App Router architecture — instead of the previous Pages Router.

The first red flag 🚩 I noticed was that there's no Testing documentation on the App Router docs. The second red flag 🚩 was that none of the examples in their GitHub repo, including the with-jest template updated in the first week of September 2023, has any examples of testing React Server Components which is the new paradigm the Vercel team is using in the App Router architecture.

When trying to test a RSC, React Testing Library throws an error NEXT_RSC_ERR_CLIENT_IMPORT as seen on this issue from May 2023. The Next.js team posted in early September 2023 that the canary version v13.4.20-canary.16 fixes this error.

I've installed this canary version, and now the RSC I'm trying to test are returning Objects are not valid as a React child (found: [object Promise]). Yep, that's right: React Server Components can be async. They are safe to be async since they render on the server.

If you want to know more about React Server Components, I recommend checking Josh Comeau's excellent post about it:

Who isn't ready yet to test rendering async components? React Testing Library.

As more and more people jump in the Vercel hype train, RTL maintainers had to come with workarounds to support that while they try to reach the Vercel team to work together in a solution. Having an issue created in May 2023 without any response or emoji reaction from the Vercel team is unsettling.

The bottom line is that Vercel promoted to stable a "meta-framework" that comes short when handling unit testing coverage. I spent a day searching GitHub issues and connecting the dots from different repositories.

No one is warning developers about it or explicitly recommending creating or enhancing their end-to-end tests using Cypress or Playwright if they want to test their components. However, that's the solution maintainers are giving to their users.

DX in detriment of quality?

What kind of message do meta-frameworks and libraries give to developers when they do such a thing? We already have non-semantic and inaccessible code propagated everywhere in docs, courses, and presentations.

We should worry about the code we put as a standard in our documentation and examples. Web semantics, accessibility, and testing should be part of the Definition of Done (DoD) of every code we write, not an afterthought.

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