Running Karma tests for Chrome in Travis CI

Posted by Luke on the

Filed under technology, webdev

A quick-start guide for running Karma tests for Chrome in Travis CI. When you run Travis on a Node.js project, Travis will - by default - run npm install and then npm test. I first ran into the issue in an Angular project that had tests triggered in the prepublish command. My CI build failed and I decided to remove the prepublish hook and change the name of my test script until I had the time to come back. For months I've been avoiding the issue, but I have finally solved it. The Karma docs suggest that you can run the tests in Firefox with the --browsers flag (see Travis has since updated so that Chrome can be loaded into the environment. For this to work, you'll need to make changes to your travis.yml file and your karma config file.


Note that I'm using only latest node as that is the requirement for me

  language: node_js
    \- "node"
    \- export CHROME_BIN=chromium-browser
    \- export DISPLAY=:99.0
    \- sh -e /etc/init.d/xvfb start

The before_script is the special part, which points travis in the right direction for running Chrome. The last two lines are addressed in the karma docs linked above. Personally, I am using a separate karma config file, and I want to make the changes within that config file to keep my test script clean. My test script is:

"test": "karma start karma.config.js"


const configuration = {
    files: [{ pattern: 'tests/**/**/**.*', watched: true }],
    customLaunchers: {
        chromeTravisCi: {
            base: 'Chrome',
            flags: ['--no-sandbox']
    frameworks: ['mocha'],
    browsers: ['Chrome'],
    failOnEmptyTestSuite: true,
    singleRun: true

if (process.env.TRAVIS) {
    configuration.browsers = ['chromeTravisCi'];

module.exports = function(config) {

Luckily, Travis sets the process env to TRAVIS and if we check for this, we set the configuration browsers to ['chromeTravisCi'] which is defined in the customLaunchers. Have whatever pre-processors you need in the configuration object and it should work fine when you deploy.