Visually Test Your Components with Storybook

Written by Valentin Agachi -

In this tutorial, we will set up a small project with automated visual regression tests using Storybook and

Storybook is a web based UI development environment for components. With it, you can visualize different states of UI components and develop them interactively.

Storybook runs outside of your app. So you can develop UI components in isolation without worrying about app-specific dependencies and requirements.

Storybook started as a tool for React components, but the most recent versions have added support for Vue, Angular and Polymer components. For this tutorial, we are going to use React components.

Initial Setup

If you already have a working setup of Storybook in your project, you can skip this section and follow the next one.

Let's start with initializing our project by adding the react and react-dom dependencies.

$ yarn init -y
$ yarn add -D react react-dom
// or
$ npm init -y
$ npm install -D react react-dom

Then we choose to install Storybook using their official CLI, which auto detects what view library your project is using. So, if your project would be using Vue components, for example, the CLI would install the required Storybook dependencies for Vue. In our case, it will use the React dependencies.

$ yarn global add @storybook/cli
// or
$ npm install -g @storybook/cli

$ getstorybook

There is also a more detailed guide on how to set up Storybook manually, for a more customized configuration.

By default, the Storybook generator outputs a sample story file with a couple of demo components. You can use those for a quick overview, but for this tutorial, we are going to add a couple of custom components with simulated random changes and their respective stories:

storiesOf('Button', module)
    .add('as button', () => <Button>Hello Button</Button>)
    .add('as link', () => <Button href="">Hello Link</Button>)
    .add('button with emoji', () => <Button>😀 😎 👍 💯</Button>)
    .add('disabled', () => <Button disabled={true}>Disabled Button</Button>);
storiesOf('TextInput', module)
    .add('default', () => <TextInput placeholder="Placeholder text" />)
    .add('with value', () => <TextInput value="Lorem ipsum" />)
    .add('error state', () => <TextInput hasError={true} value="Lorem ipsum" />)
    .add('disabled', () => <TextInput disabled={true} value="Lorem ipsum" />);
Storybook UI with demo components
Storybook UI with demo components

📷 Capture components screenshots

To add visual regression testing, we need to capture screenshots of all our components stories in Storybook. We can use the Storybook addon storybook-chrome-screenshots, which runs all the stories inside Puppeteer (headless Chrome) and captures their screenshots.

First, we install the package in our project:

$ yarn add -D storybook-chrome-screenshot
// or
$ npm install -D storybook-chrome-screenshot

Then, we register the addon in the .storybook/addons.js configuration file:

// Other addons here
import 'storybook-chrome-screenshot/register';

Lastly, we configure Storybook in .storybook/config.js to wrap all our stories with the two decorators from the addon:

import { addDecorator } from '@storybook/react';
import { initScreenshot, withScreenshot } from 'storybook-chrome-screenshot';


// The rest of the config

Using this configuration will take a screenshot of all your stories. If you want to choose only a few stories to screenshot, then remove the withScreenshot() decorator from this main configuration file, and add the decorator to the stories you want.

We can now try it out and get screenshots of all our components stories:

$ storybook-chrome-screenshot

DONE  Screenshot image saving is completed!

 ✔  __screenshots__/Button-as-button.png
 ✔  __screenshots__/Button-as-link.png
 ✔  __screenshots__/Button-button-with-emoji.png
 ✔  __screenshots__/Button-disabled.png
 ✔  __screenshots__/TextInput-default.png
 ✔  __screenshots__/TextInput-with-value.png
 ✔  __screenshots__/TextInput-error-state.png
 ✔  __screenshots__/TextInput-disabled.png

Time:        6.93s
Screenshots: 8 total (0 skipped)

✨ Visual Regression Testing with

To add visual regression testing with for our components, we want to send the build information and screenshots to the API, with our SDK & CLI package:

$ yarn add -D viswiz-sdk
// or
$ npm install -D viswiz-sdk

Then we add both the screenshot addon and CLI to the test script:

"test": "storybook-chrome-screenshot && viswiz build --image-dir ./__screenshots__",

For the final integration of in our tests, we need to have the following environment variables available when we run the viswiz CLI: VISWIZ_API_KEY and VISWIZ_PROJECT_ID. You can export these to your terminal shell while developing, but you will need to define these in your CI system (please refer to your CI documentation on how to define environment variables).

To get your API key and project ID, follow our Getting Started guide.

💯 Visual Regression Results

If we want to run the test locally, we'll need to pass more arguments to the viswiz command (like the commit revision, commit message and branch name). If we run this test on popular CI services (e.g., Travis, CodeShip, AppVeyor, etc.), these values are auto-detected.

When we run the tests now on CI, we will send the images results from your tests to our service for regression testing.

$ yarn test
$ storybook-chrome-screenshot && viswiz build --image-dir ./__screenshots__
 LAUNCH  Launching storybook server ...

 PREPARE  Fetching the target components ...

 CAPTURE  Capturing component screenshots ...

 DONE  Screenshot image saving is completed!

  ✔  __screenshots__/Button-as-button.png
  ✔  __screenshots__/Button-as-link.png
  ✔  __screenshots__/Button-button-with-emoji.png
  ✔  __screenshots__/Button-disabled.png
  ✔  __screenshots__/TextInput-default.png
  ✔  __screenshots__/TextInput-with-value.png
  ✔  __screenshots__/TextInput-error-state.png
  ✔  __screenshots__/TextInput-disabled.png

Screenshots: 8 total (0 skipped)

Creating build on

Please note that the initial build created on will not have any baseline to compare itself to, so there will be no regression report generated for it. However, all builds created after that one will generate visual regression reports like this one: Visual Regression Report Visual Regression Report

After running the tests, open your Projects page, choose your project and open your last build to see the report for it.

🚀 Go Test Your Components!

By default, the screenshot addon takes screenshots of the stories in a 1024x768 viewport. You can customize the size of the viewport or even choose multiple viewports using the addon's setScreenshotOptions method. This will enable you to test your application in a variety of viewports to validate your components' responsiveness.

You can also follow this tutorial with the actual code, commit by commit, on our tutorial repository:

Congratulations! You are now ready to start visually testing your UI components with! 🎉