[plt-scheme] Re: [maybe off-topic] The theory of testing

From: Kevin A. Smith (kevin at hypotheticalabs.com)
Date: Mon Aug 25 15:30:06 EDT 2008

On Aug 25, 2008, at 3:24 PM, wooks wrote:

> On Aug 25, 1:07 pm, "Grant Rettke" <gret... at acm.org> wrote:
>> Regarding my take on XP and Unit Testing, you're preaching to the  
>> choir!
>> What I'm sharing with you guys is based on what I've seen on *many*  
>> projects.
>> Wooks, here is what I meant:
>> %80 of developers don't know why unit tests exist, don't trust them,
>> won't do them.
>> %80 of managers don't know why unit tests exist.
>> Inevitably "issues" occur. Developers cite the unit tests as being
>> "useless", which becomes the justification for no longer maintaining
>> them.
>> That is the norm.
> It may have been the norm 20-25 years ago, but it's not the norm today
> and hasn't been the norm for a long time.
> In the 70's and early - mid 80's the industry absorbed itself with
> problem of how to develop applications more quickly - hence you had
> the era of CASE tools, the emergence of "4GL's" , wizards and RAD
> tools. The major problem then shifted to one of knowing whether what
> had been developed was right, hence you saw the emergence of "QA" or
> "testing" as a software engineering (sub) discipline in the latter
> part of the 80's (or at least it became more common).
> Developers have always  known they should unit test and why they
> should do so. There may be issues with the degree of formality and
> repeatability of the process but they know what they should do. So do
> project management. When there is a project deadline to meet and
> pressure from above to meet it, it's the testing that gets squeezed
> and management tend to takes a punt on releasing  code thats not been
> tested as thoroughly as it ought. The decision to release then
> becomes  an exercise in risk management - someone decides the
> likelihood of inadequate testing leading to a problem and tries to
> assess the impact if it does. That is the norm, albeit the testing and
> risk management are applied with varying degrees of formality from
> site to site.
> Everybody knows you should test (and not just unit test) and the
> consequences of not doing so and everybody knows what corners are cut
> in the face of project deadlines and everybody knows the consequences
> that follow.
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Sadly, it's been my experience that this line of thinking only applies  
to the *good* developers. There just aren't enough of those. . .


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