Test First Programming / Test First Development

Occasionally referred to as Test First Development, Test First Programming is a beautiful concept that radically changed the way I approach software development.

The ideas of Test First Programming and Test Driven Development are often muddled together.
However, Test First is powerful enough to stand on it’s own.
I think it’s important to present the concepts separately.

TDD and many other agile practices build on Test First.
This isn’t just about remembering the past.
The lessons learned from Test First are still very important.

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My reaction to “Is TDD Dead?”

Whatever your stance on the merits or pitfalls of Test Driven Development, I think it’s worthwhile and educational to pay attention to a discussion that’s going on lately.

Testing is crucial. But is unit test focused TDD the right path?

I care about the conversation about TDD because I see serious flaws in the conventional understanding of TDD.

Much of the current view of TDD includes:

  • Units are tested in isolation of the rest of the system.
  • Unit tests are more important than any other form of testing.
  • A “unit” is a class or a function. Nothing larger is a “unit”.
  • If you test more than one class, that’s an integration test.
  • If you test from the API with all resources, that’s a system test. Let QA deal with that later. Isn’t that exactly where waterfall failed?
  • You can’t write any production code without a failing test.
  • You have to write only one test at a time, and it must fail.
  • Tests have to be fast.
  • Therefore, they cannot touch hardware, the file system, other services, or database.
  • Tests should be short.

All of this rubs me the wrong way.
I’ll get to my thoughts later, but my concern about this cemented view of TDD caused me to be very interested in the current talks.

On to the discussion

I came in after the 2nd video, while doing research on Agile and TDD.
I’m not sure if the order matters, but here’s a list of what I know about the discussions.

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Markdown.py passes first 3 tests

Just pushed up an update to markdown.py and test_markdown_pytest.py to github

Passing first 3 tests now.

  1. Non-marked lines
  2. em tags
  3. strong tags

Update: I posted this, then felt bad that it was so short, so removed it.
However, a notification already had gone out on twitter and the rss feed.
So I moved it back to published.
I still fill bad that it’s so short.
But 404’s are worse.