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Yet of all the programming disciplines that I’ve had to get to grips with over the years, unit testing has probably been one of the most difficult.
Code samples are given in C#, but developers working with other languages will also find much in it of benefit.He has yet another dig at Architecture Astronauts who come up to you when you’re racing to get an upgrade ready for deployment and tell you that you need to refactor your core code to use multi-apartment threaded COM. But then, he goes on to wax lyrical about Jamie Zawinski, who is, to use Joel’s words, the Pretty Boy of Software Development.He wrote Netscape Navigator in the 1990s and is Joel’s hero because—get this—he Zawinski didn’t do many unit tests. Given a leisurely development pace, that’s certainly the way to go.Whether unit testing is your “thing” or not, it is very much a must-read for every working .NET developer, and indeed for developers working with other languages too.There are plenty of suggestions that may not have occurred to you, and you’ll end up much more aware of the “tricks of the trade.” My only disappointment was that four major, and potentially thorny, aspects of the subject — database, UI, web and thread-related testing — were only given a brief overview in the second half of Appendix B.
Of course it could be argued that these were outside the scope of this book — indeed, Osherove argues that unit testing in some of these areas in particular have a relatively low return on investment — and in others, unit testing frameworks and methodologies are still very much in their infancy.
You have to configure a test environment, perhaps with a test database or other form of test data source, and you also have to completely re-think the way you write your code.
It requires greater discipline — it’s all too easy to think “Stuff that,” and slip into the old mindset of just slapping down your code and testing it manually.
Ford makes appropriate parts that can be slotted and bolted into place with relative ease as replacements for the damaged originals. We’re not talking about highfalutin over-engineered Provider Singleton Visitor Adapter Mediator Repository Factory design patterns, nor are we talking about more layers of abstraction than The Princess and the Pea, we’re talking about a common sense approach to software development.
Imagine a car built the way Joel’n’Jeff seemed to be suggesting, where it was just one monolithic structure, with non-interchangeable parts. When the tyres wear thin, or the bulbs go, you have to scrap it. It’s the kind of thing that you’re either doing anyway but you just don’t know what it’s called, or else you get that kind of “aha!
I was pleased to see some good solid chapters on stubs, mocks and dependency injection, for instance: these are essential tools needed to break external dependencies.