Monday, October 23, 2006

Worst marketing ever?

Quite often, while introducing quality assurance, testing and TDD with our customer or colleagues, I get some weird responses… something like: “Yes, we tried JUnit, but it can only do unit tests, and we need integration test as well” or “we started using JUnit, but we dropped it, cause we didn’t have the time to write the test for every single method in every class of the system”.
Hmmm, clearly somebody got it quite wrong, ‘cause JUnit is a testing framework and it just takes the right entry point (a façade, a web service, a main method) to have it run integration tests as well. Half of the people are misled by the name (but I never heard anybody saying that JBoss is only for smuggling applications…), the other half by the on line documentation, which does nothing to prevent new readers from getting it wrong.

For many, the starting point is simply no test at all. So the best possible choice would be to start implementing the most useful tests, like those that catch the highest number of errors. This means putting the interception point at the surface of the application (be it a presentation tier or a public API), while starting from the small, maybe testing all the getters too, provides very little value, and doesn’t focus on the way components interact together to provide the application behaviour.

Unit test provide a value too, because they help in the problem determination phase, but when you have only a few resources on testing (as it is sadly often the case) you want them to check the overall application before shipping, and not only some random component.

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