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MirageJS: An API mocking library for frontend development (miragejs.com)
294 points by mixonic 24 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 51 comments



Hello! I'm Sam and I built Mirage JS to be a framework-agnostic API mocking library.

Mirage is extracted it from an addon that's been widely used in the Ember ecosystem for the past 4 years, at companies like Apple, Heroku, Square and Footlocker.

Nearly all frontends need to talk to an API, no matter what framework they're built with! So over the past year I've made Mirage work with any tool or test runner.

I really believe deeply in the frontend-first workflow, and Mirage makes that easier than ever. If it sounds interesting to you, check out the lib + let me know what you think!


Phenomenal landing page. The first text I read is a ~10-word description of the value proposition. The next thing my eyes are drawn to is a visual demo. The first thing I can click is a link to use it myself. Plus, it's all visually very appealing without being distracting. Well done.


We spent a long time on it so that really means a lot! Thanks for the kind words :)


same. the small demos on the landing page are amazing. for once, i got a lot from a library by not even moving away from the landing page!


Thank you so much for putting this together! When I did Ember.js development, this was one of the features I missed the most when using other JS frameworks.


Thanks for all the hard work, mirage has been a great asset the past years of ember development!


Kudos. Miracle follows the similar philosophy shared also by Ember that i know will be the future of the webdev


No fluff! In 2 sec I knew what it was intended to do. I was ready to go in 6 sec. Excellent work.


I believe Michael Feathers was just started a Twitter thread yesterday that talked, among other things, about moving IO to the edges of your code.

If you can divide acquisition from usage, I wonder how much less effort you need to put into API mocking.

Ages ago and shortly after I started testing, was the last time I had to do any low-level HTTP response processing. My coworkers could not fathom why I had divided the parsing and networking code into completely separate sections. Then I showed them how stupid-simple most of the tests were, instead of the convoluted mess of integration tests I'd walked into.

Hand the payload to I/O-free code immediately. You've done the hardest part at this point. Mocking out the network layer in any of half a dozen ways is a cakewalk in comparison.


Yes! Yes! Yes! I've been preaching this approach ever since watching Gary Bernhardt's talk on "Boundaries" [1].

Splitting conditional logic from dependencies makes code so much easier to test. If you can do that, there's no need to mock anything. You can just pass simple data objects into your conditional logic for testing, and use a handful of integration tests to validate the end-to-end flow.

[1] https://www.destroyallsoftware.com/talks/boundaries


Bertrand Meyer talked a similar strategy. I believe he called them decisions and actions. There's a lot of requirements tied up in decisions.

With the exception of callbacks (and async solves that for single-issue scenarios), arguments don't need to be mocked. They're just arguments.


I believe this is similar to [Uncle's Bob clean architecture theory](https://blog.cleancoder.com/uncle-bob/2012/08/13/the-clean-a...) where you split the infrastructure from the business logic. Also similar to the repository pattern. In general, you are able to achieve loose coupling between your modules and thus better unit testing.

But being able to go down to the HTTP level and mock responses there provides a different benefit. You are able to do end to end tests but isolated to your own service. I always do that (alongside unit tests) so I can even catch errors outside of my code base, i.e. in my dependencies.


Yes, Cycle.js [1] taught me that lesson and it's been useful ever since.

[1] https://cycle.js.org/


Just my two cents: Mirage is freaking great because it makes mocking shit out pretty much as easy as possible and pretty damn correct.

I don't know how many times mocking up a UI I start to throw some random JS objects in a file and then inevitably after a few hours, those random JS objects are unmanageable and contain very small differences between what my API will deliver.

Using Mirage from the start of projects has made my life a lot easier, it also provides a nice sanity check between what the backend delivers and what the frontend actually expects.


How does mirage help with data differences with the real back end? I can't see how it isn't just as vulnerable to getting out of sync.

I have another question. Mirage is installed as a dev dependency. But all the examples show it being used in the application code. Do you maintain a separate branch without the import of Server, etc? Or is webpack smart enough to remove all imports/usage of dev dependencies in the prod build? I don't think I've ever imported dev dependencies into app code before.

For that matter, how does it provide a sanity check between what the back end delivers and the front end expects? Do you mean compared to coding to a spec with no mocking? Like when the back end doesn't exist yet?

Clearly I'm missing something. Could be the sleep deprivation.


Great question! When I started Mirage this was the biggest concern, but after years of usage it turns out to not be that big of a deal in practice. Said another way, the benefits of being able to easily write high-level UI tests for a variety of server states all within your frontend codebase outweigh the costs of potential false positives. Also, teams don't break their HTTP APIs that often.

Even so, there are teams that have used tools like Pact to perform contract testing, ensuring their Mirage server and their production API never fall out of sync. Even more exciting to me would be using something like Typescript to verify the API contract at compile-time (also something that others have been exploring).

As far as only running Mirage during development, the Ember addon does this but we need to document how to do this in the general case. When you build your app for production Mirage should not be in any application code, nor should the miragejs library be included in your bundle. Webpack is capable of this, we just need to document it.

Mirage is flexible enough to match any backend API – this is where it shines in comparison to tools like json-server. With Mirage the goal is to mock out your exact production API; its serializers and route handlers can be customized to match any API format. Often teams using Mirage reach agreement about the shape of their API beforehand, precisely so that the frontend team can move and build the UI without having to wait on the API to be ready.

Indeed, Mirage can even be thought of as a communication tool that helps impose conventions and consistency on the API layer, making both the frontend developers and the backend developers happier.


Off the top of my head, the import logic could be something like:

    if(__DEV__) {
        require("loadApiMocking");
    }
Agreed that there'd be work to do to keep real code responses and mocked responses in sync, but there's probably ways to automate that if you want. In fact, I can hypothetically imagine some way to introspect OpenAPI schema files and configure Mirage accordingly.


> how does it provide a sanity check between what the back end delivers and the front end expects

The team I work on have been using Mirage with GraphQL for 6 months or so and GraphQL’s tooling almost entirely addresses this question. There will still be false positives in API behaviour (you can never have a completely accurate simulation) but you can get an incredible degree of confidence at a startlingly low cost, with a delight developer experience to boot. Similar strategies could no doubt be employed for JSONSchema, Swagger, or Pact tooling.


What is the benefit of a request mocking framework versus hiding all api requests behind a module?

Instead of

    // MyComponent.js
    const users = await fetch(...
Use this

    // MyComponent.js
    const users = await api.getUsers()

    // api.js
    export default {
      getUsers() {
        return fetch(...
      }
    }
To mock, you replace the entire api module (or individual functions).


Mirage is not just a request mocking framework. It comes with an ORM and a way to define factories, so you can create random data with ease, while you are testing your app.

I am sure that you can do all without Mirage and I am sure that your solution might fit your project best, but I doubt that it will take you the same amount of effort

(I have been using Mirage for the past 4 years and I love it)


The first page of the docs list a few reasons.

https://miragejs.com/docs/getting-started/introduction

"Use a client-side interceptor to handle your app's network requests. ... This is the most flexible approach, but it requires you to start from scratch in each project, and leaves it up to you to enforce conventions across your apps."

"Importantly, because Mirage mocks the HTTP boundary instead of the JavaScript code your app uses to make network requests, you never need to modify your application code to account for whether your app is talking to Mirage or to your real production backend."


How is this the best/most flexible approach? What if you decide to move from REST to GQL? GQL to websockets? By mocking the HTTP endpoint you’re too low in the stack. At that point, I feel like you might have better success with using the actual backend and swap out the DB with mock data.


I always use this approach for my E2E tests. This way I test the backend as well as the frontend. Harder to setup properly though.


The benefit is doing integration tests, testing the glue between your components. By mocking down to the HTTP level you can be sure that the code will work end to end, which is inside your whole codebase.

Imagine that fetch suddenly has a bug (extreme example but it could be another open-source library). Your tests above wouldn't catch it.

I always strive to do at least a few integration tests like these and not stand purely on individual unit tests.


100% agree. I feel like you could do the same with a mocking library and good abstractions. At the end of the day, you still have to simulate the backend API. I would love to see front end developers adopt Domain Driven Design.


Mirage is a staple of Ember development. It's one of those things I didn't realize I was missing until I learned it, and now I can't imagine not using it(at least in early development). I kinda didn't realize I could use it outside of Ember CLI, so this is pretty cool.


I've used mirage extensively throughout the past 5+ years across multiple projects/teams and it truly is a great tool. In a recent project we had multiple "scenarios" defined that represented different high-level states of the app. We added a page that allowed switching between the scenarios during local development and it was a huge boon to productivity, while also allowing us to write certain automated smoke tests that otherwise would have been more cumbersome with e.g. selenium.

Working on a React project recently, I was surprised that there wasn't an option like mirage, but now that there is, I highly recommend it!


I would rather make a component that takes data as props.

Now make a component on top that runs a network request and injects the network response into it.

Now you have a reusable component independent of the api. Your network function can be tested individually. Your top level component doesn’t need testing as that is the part that would be mocked.

You can now test your actual component without any mocking.

If you need some dummy data to show before the backend team is ready, this is trivial. Guess I’m just not a Big enough mocking fan to ever need a library for what is such a small thing in my experience


We use the "container" pattern for this via graphql (the container component handles all the data fetching and logic therein, the underlying component is usually attempted to be pure / functional / stateless. )


I used Mirage with Ember for many years and it has changed the way I think and approach front-end acceptance testing. I was very excited to see the work to extract the Ember-specific bits from the rest of the library (originally by @cowboyd / Charles Lowell and now from the original author Sam Selikoff himself) and am using it with a React app to great success.


You beat me to this idea but I'm glad you did. Nice library. Mock API's are quite the productivity multiplier. I use them extensively for local development, prototyping, testing, and demoing. I've hacked similar things for work; first one was based on jsondb and the second one was based on axios-mock-adapter.

Colorizing[1] the console logs for quickly parsing success and failure might be a nice addition. [1]: https://developers.google.com/web/tools/chrome-devtools/cons...

edit: grammar


Been using the original Mirage project on an Ember app for years (testing and fake offline demos functionality), and now this iteration takes it over the top. I can't recommend it enough.


I remember using Mirage back when I was an Ember developer. Everything else seemed so backwards in comparison, and honestly still does. I'm definitely interested in trying this out.


This is cool. Mockability is one reason I've been so heavily biased to choosing GraphQL for my backend APIs recently. GraphQL makes it super easy to (a) first define a contract between client and server, and then (b) front end teams can trivially mock this out to develop the front end while the backend team actually implements the API.

Glad to see something like mirage solving this across all different types of API frameworks.


I've used Mirage for a bit while working on an Ember project. It was really awesome and user-friendly and easy to use.

I have been using https://github.com/nock/nock in Node.js for ages and I love it as well.


At our job we used to mock both frontend and backend and we needed consistency, so to help us I developed https://mockadillo.com which is imho easier to use than embedding mocks in your code.


Great tool! I cannot say how much I like using Mirage, and how much it helps me while developing applications. I have used it only with Ember.JS and I always missed having it while using some others JS frameworks.

Much appreciated Sam and much love ️


We use Mirage for a large scale ordering front-end built with Ember. It’s enabled almost zero flakiness when writing our acceptance tests; super excited to see the library get ported outside the Ember ecosystem!


This is awesome! Exactly the kind of library I’ve been looking for.

Does anyone have any suggestions on a way to start with an OpenAPI spec and end up with a mock data set? With Mirage it seems easy enough to mock our API directly from scratch, but if we could save a few steps and go from OpenAPI spec to mocked front end that would be bliss.


Thank you! I hacked something similar quick and dirty, but i will use definitely Mirage with my next project.


I'm a bit of a noob so hang with me here.

So you install it as a dev dependency via npm.

So is it running ... with the client app as a proxy between the client application and just waiting for the API requests and taking those responding?

Is it possible to configure some delay in responses?


We use mirage with test-controlled response timings to be able to acceptance test loading states. Works great.

You can also configure a universal delay if you’re using mirage in development and want to get a feel for your app with a certain amount of latency.


From reading the docs and the source, it's not a proxy. It looks like it uses https://github.com/pretenderjs/pretender , which overwrites the original `XmlHttpRequest` and `fetch` functions in the browser to intercept any attempts to make AJAX requests. It then makes your attempted request with its own internal routing definitions, and returns the responses you defined.


Ah thank you!


Nice tool. But apart from the great landing page, what's the difference with FakeRest [0]?

0: https://github.com/marmelab/FakeRest


I wrote a guide because folks kept asking! https://miragejs.com/docs/meta/comparison-with-other-tools


This looks really cool. Is there a difference between this and json-server [0]?

0: https://github.com/typicode/json-server


Looks like `json-server` is a real server, whereas Mirage is a tool for mocking `XmlHttpRequest` and `fetch` on the client side in the browser.


Is it possible to include it as a standalone js file? Instead of using npm or yarn?


Yep we publish a UMD build you can grab here:

https://unpkg.com/browse/miragejs@0.1.33/dist/


Finally a library to help me make a mockery of my project!




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