castanyes blaves

Random ramblings about some random stuff, and things; but more stuff than things -- all in a mesmerizing and kaleidoscopic soapbox-like flow of words.



Testing strategies

The tests that you must write in XP are isolated and automatic.

First, each test doesn't interact with the others you write. That way

you avoid the problem that one test fails and causes a hundred other

failures. Nothing discourages testing more than false negatives. You

get this adrenaline rush when you arrive in the morning and find a

pile of defects. When it turns out to be no big deal, it's a big

letdown. Are you going to pay careful attention to the tests after

this has happened five or ten times? No way.

The tests are also automatic. Tests are most valuable when the stress

level rises, when people are working too much, when human judgment

starts to fail. So the tests must be automatic - returning an

unqualified thumbs up/thumbs down indication of whether the system is


It is impossible to test absolutely everything, without the tests

being as complicated and error-prone as the code. It is suicide to

test nothing (in this sense of isolated, automatic tests). So, of all

the things you can imagine testing, what should you test?

You should test things that might break. If code is so simple that it

can't possibly break, then you shouldn't write a test for it.

One way a test can pay off is when a test works that you didn't expect

to work. Then you better go find out why it works, because the code is

smarter than you are. Another way a test can pay off is when a test

breaks when you expected it to work. In either case, you learn


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