Looking Into the Basics of Test Driven Development

Lookng nto the Bascs of Test Drven Development

Test Drven Development (TDD), a combnaton of Test Frst Development (TFD) and Refactorng, sts n the camp and s a methology where the development team wrtes tests before they even start to wrte code. They then run the test and f t fals they wrte the code to ensure the test passes. On passng the test, the code s then td up or refactor and a new test s undertaken.

t sounds smple, and to all ntents and purposes t s, but t es call on a strategc change n from all those nvolv—and ths ncludes . Ths change n s one of the major obstacles n undertakng ths approach to software development as there nes to be a lot of nvestment up front and work can seem to progress slowly.

The dagram takes us through the smple teratve flow of buldng and runnng a test, buldng some code and then refactorng. t s a completely dfferent way for the development teams to work, wrtng a test that s sure to fal as no code has been wrtten. n ths secton wll take each and explore n more detal what s ental and how ths relates to prevous s.

One – Test

Frst of all, for each new feature or module a new test nes to be wrtten. Ths test wll nevtably fal due to t beng wrtten before the module exsts. For the test to be wrtten, the developers must understand what the requrements are for the feature set by extractng them out of the User Story. The man dfference wth TDD compar to wrtng tradtonal unt tests s that t encourages the developer to focus on the requrements before wrtng the code.

Two – Code

The next s to wrte some code that wll allow the test to pass. Ths new code wll not necessarly be perfect but wll be suffcent to pass the ntal test. The next wll take care of t up the code and ensurng t meets qualty expectatons.

t s most mportant to understand that the code wrtten at ths pont s only desgn to pass the specf test; no extra functonalty should be nclud.

Three – Refactor

n ths stage, the code wrtten to pass the specf test s mprov to meet qualty expectatons, remove duplcatons and ensure t comples wth departmental or corporate standards—ths s call refactorng. As the tests can be rerun at any tme, confdence n the code can be mantan by performng the specf test agan to ensure that t stll passes all the tera.

A good reason for embarkng wn the TDD route s that t enables you to take a more modular approach when buldng software. For example, t s by far easer to fnd an error n a few lnes of code compar to trawlng through zens, f not thousands, of cod lnes. The mplcaton s that the faster your test sute, the more attractve t s to proce n smaller and smaller modules of code.

Comng from an Object Orent background, applaud any process or that promotes code reuse or modularzaton. As a development team gets more famlar wth TDD, they wll then be n a better poston to take advantage of object lbrares and regresson s, agan mprovng both qualty and delvery expectatons.

Kent Beck, n hs book Test-Drven Development by Examples stat n 2003, “TDD encourages smple desgns and nspres confdence.”1 By breakng work wn nto ndvdual components that can be specf through pre-wrtten tests, we are able to buld solutons that can easly be regresson test and manag through the development process. These solutons wll then be bult by smple modules wth clearly defn nterfaces, whch nteract wth each of the other components n a smple mapp out desgn.

Test drven development s a where you frst wrte a test that fals before you embark on wrtng the code. TDD must not be seen as a replacement for tradtonal testng, but t should be seen as a way to outlne a proven way to ensure good unt testng. As each TDD test s effectvely a workng example for each cod module, t can therefore be desb as a source for provdng workng specfcatons for that module also. Embracng the TDD route s not easy at frst, especally so for those who are from a tradtonal development background, but wth perseverance the wll soon manfest themselves n qualty delverables.

Lookng nto the Bascs of Test Drven Development


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