Exploration Through Example

Example-driven development, Agile testing, context-driven testing, Agile programming, Ruby, and other things of interest to Brian Marick
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Thu, 28 Aug 2003

Some random links

Michael Feathers on "Stunting a framework":

The next time you are tempted to write and distribute a framework, run a little experiment. Imagine the smallest useful set of classes you can create. Not a framework, just a small seed, a seedwork. Design it so that it is easy to refactor. Code it and then stop. Can you explain it to someone in an hour? Good. Now, can you let it go? Can you really let it go?

Christian Sepulveda on "Testers and XP: Maybe we are asking the wrong question":

... there are other agile practices that address these other concerns and work in harmony with XP. Scrum is the best example. Scrum is about project management, not coding. When I am asked about the role of project managers in XP, I suggest Scrum.

I like Christian's idea of finding a style of testing that's agile-programmer-compatible in the way that Scrum is a style of management that's agile-programmer-compatible. It feels like a different way of looking at the issue, and I like that feeling.

Michael Hamman talks of Heidegger and Winograd&Flores in "Breakdown, not a problem":

Because sometimes our flow needs to be broken - we need to be awoken from our "circumspective" slumber. This notion underlies many of the great tragedies, both in literature and in real life. We are going along in life when something unexpected, perhaps even terrible, occurs. Our whole life is thrown into relief - all of the things, the people, and qualities that we once took for granted suddenly become meaningful and important to us. Our very conscious attitude toward life shifts dramatically.

Breakdowns usually don't have such a dramatic character - it could, after all, be something simple like the red bar (a unit-testing term for a failed software unit test). In fact, many common tools and technologies play upon the importance of breakdowns to help us be more attentive, to wake us up out of our circumspective slumber. At least one aspect of test-driven development is of this character.

Something to think about: what sort of breakdowns would improve your work?

I'm wondering - help me out, Michael - how to fit my talk of test maintenance (within this post) into the terminology of Heidegger and Winograd&Flores. The typical response to an unexpectedly broken test is to fix it in place to match the new behavior. Can I call that circumspective? I prefer a different response, one that makes distinctions: is this one of those tests that should be fixed in place, or is it one that should be moved, or one that should be deleted? Is that attending to a breakdown? And should we expect that a habit of attending to that kind of breakdown would lead to (first) an explicit and (over time) a tacit team understanding of why you do things with tests? And does that mean that handling broken tests would turn back into the fast "flow" of circumspective behavior?

Cem Kaner's "Software customer's bill of rights"

Greg Vaughn comments on my unit testing essay. Terse and clear: a better intro to the idea than I've managed to write. (Note how he puts an example - a story - front and center. That's good writing technique.)

## Posted at 09:39 in category /misc [permalink] [top]

About Brian Marick
I consult mainly on Agile software development, with a special focus on how testing fits in.

Contact me here: marick@exampler.com.




Agile Testing Directions
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Testers on agile projects

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Working your way out of the automated GUI testing tarpit
  1. Three ways of writing the same test
  2. A test should deduce its setup path
  3. Convert the suite one failure at a time
  4. You should be able to get to any page in one step
  5. Extract fast tests about single pages
  6. Link checking without clicking on links
  7. Workflow tests remain GUI tests
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Design-Driven Test-Driven Design
Creating a test
Making it (barely) run
Views and presenters appear
Hooking up the real GUI


Popular Articles
A roadmap for testing on an agile project: When consulting on testing in Agile projects, I like to call this plan "what I'm biased toward."

Tacit knowledge: Experts often have no theory of their work. They simply perform skillfully.

Process and personality: Every article on methodology implicitly begins "Let's talk about me."


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