re: TDD is Not for Me VIEW POST


For me, testing is about codifying a behaviour. Sorting is a great example: does my sorting function sort this list of numbers the way I expect? Nice black box testing would not care about how that algorithm is implemented; we only care about behaviours. Does my sorting function sort quickly for large sets of numbers? Does it perform well for a variety of distributions? What about degenerate cases. I suppose we could imagine a series of tests that would force us to write quicksort rather than mergesort or shellsort but... meh.

By using TDD the developer derived an algorithm that was incredibly slow

I've definitely seen that too. I mean, what can I say? TDD will not make you smart. TDD is not a panacea that can replace an understanding of algorithmic complexity. You can stick a test in that requires you to make the sort happen faster than some number, but there is no way TDD is magically going to show you how to make it pass. TDD is a tool to help you think, it's not a substitute for thinking.

  • Write a few test cases demonstrating the basic functionality I expect.
  • Spend time to think about how I might achieve that functionality.
  • Implement a rough version that gets my tests passing.
  • Refactor as necessary.

Are you writing a rough version that makes all the tests pass the first time (which I don't think I could do), or are you iterating by making the tests pass one after another with a refactor after each? In either case, sounds enough like TDD to me - testing first, using tests to think about code.

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