Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Collective Code Ownership Part 2

When I write "everyone is responsible for all the code" I also mean that everyone is responsible for all the tests, so if you only have unit tests and you need an integration test... write it! It does not matter if you didn't write the original code or the original unit tests, it does not matter even if you didn't talk to the original developer. It is your responsibility to write it: navigating through an application just to click a link is (almost) completely pointless, and it sure is a waste of time. That does not mean that end user testing must not take place (how could you assert that "a normal user should be able to foobar the barfoo without previous training" otherwise?), but we should strive to automate as much as possible.

This is even harder to assimilate, because not only you have to touch code written by others, but (heresy!) write tests for code you didn't write. It's already hard to persuade people of how much TDD pays off the initial investment and the mental shift, but it's even harder to push them to use tests as a primary way to discover how a particular piece of code works (I often write tests for third part libraries or also for checking the behaviour of java.lang or java.util classes I'm not sure about). I can understand that people fear changes, and that one could be unwilling to change the way he's always worked, but here we're talking about being afraid of one's own shadow. Try it, and try it seriously, and after you did if you still think it won't work (and you won't) you'll still be able to give it up. And... no, "I have no time" is not a valid answer, because not having tests only leads to wasting more time.

Alas, too often I perfectly agree with Gabriele...

No comments: