Debugging Jest in Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code comes with great features, one of which is debuging. Let's set it up for debugging tests implemented with Facebook's Jest framework.

Posted in Code with tags JavaScript, at

One of the reason I decided to start using Visual Studio Code over Atom is due to the built-in debugger. Others are the integrated Git view, and that I find it faster than Atom (miss being able to have multiple projects open in the same window though).

In one of my pet-projects I started to use Jest from Facebook as my Unit Testing framework of choice. And getting support for debugging my tests was only a matter of updating the .vscode/launch.json file with this:

    "version": "0.2.0",
    "configurations": [
            "name": "Tests",
            "type": "node",
            "request": "launch",
            "program": "${workspaceRoot}/node_modules/jest-cli/bin/jest.js",
            "stopOnEntry": false,
            "args": ["--runInBand"],
            "cwd": "${workspaceRoot}",
            "preLaunchTask": null,
            "runtimeExecutable": null,
            "runtimeArgs": [
            "env": {
                "NODE_ENV": "development"
            "externalConsole": false,
            "sourceMaps": false,
            "outDir": null

The significant line here, is the use of argument --runInBand which will cause Jest to run all tests in a single sequence in the current process (instead of spinning up multiple processes to run tests in parallel). You want to use this setting only for debugging, not for normal test runs.

If you have not yet tried Code, I recommend you give it a try, it’s awesome.

Happy hacking!


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