samedi 23 février 2008

"Unit Integrated Tests" for integrator objects

Whether I use interaction based testing or state based testing I usually write "real" unit tests in the sense that only one real object is involved (the SUT, System Under Test) and only stubs and mocks are used for the fixture. It usually is the only way to easily get a good code coverage (or at least to easily specifically cover some parts of the code )

However, Lately, when testing Facade or Adapter objects he seemed to me that the unit tests for these objects were :
- too complicated
- too...useless

For most Facade or Adapter objects :
- They're stateless, so let's forget state based testing, we must use mocks
- They're highly coupled to the contract of the adapted objects (by definition of a Facade or of an Adapter)

This kind of class does nothing clever, they basically chain one or multiples calls. They may have bug though if they do not respect the contracts of the adapted classes.

So a unit test for this kind of class depends more on the contract of the mocked objects, than on the behavior of the class under test. A very clear test smell.

Even worse, the fixtures for the mocks are going to closely mimick the code of the SUT (if a method of a Facade calls an object A and then an object B, the fixture for the test on mocks and stubs will tell the exact same thing).

In this specific case the unit test does not provide an orthogonal view of the behavior implemented by the code (the usual value of a unit test) ; it is the exact same view. If I make a wrong assumption on the contract of the adapted objects, I'm going to make the same exact mistake both in the test and then in the code (TDDly speaking)

The problem basically is that the job of this kind of objects is to integrate other objects in the system. So he seemed to me that it is very hard to try to test an integration behavior in isolation.

That's why, now, when I must deal with objects that heavily depend on the contract of the collaborating objects but do not do anything complicated, "integrator objects", I use integrated tests.

However when I encounter an object that heavily depend on the contract of the collaborating objects and does many complicated things, it just means that it is too hard to test, I refactor.

dimanche 3 février 2008

TDD : How I was overusing mocks

The path to TDD is hard. When you think that you begin to understand how to apply it, you read this great Jay Fields post, and you understand that you missed the point about stubs...

As explained in his post, I was overusing mocks. I knew that I had to improve a lot in my way of using mocks, but what I really had to do was to use fewer mocks and more stubs. Basically I was missing the point that stubs are still of great use and are not superseded by mocks.

It's been a long time since I learned such an important thing in a post about TDD. Now I'm really going to try to stick to "one assert per test" (including "one mock assert per test")

And trying to do that, I'm also going to try "one test class per test setup". See this presentation about BDD by Dave Astels

Asus eee and FullerScreen for Firefox

The Asus eee PC is a terrific machine. Now, the screen resolution being what it is you must find ways to use as much as possible the available area in Firefox.

Enters FullerScreen an extension for Firefox. After the install, F11 gives you a real fullscreen (even for a tab)

In full screen mode, you may need the following shorcuts of Firefox :

  • Ctr + T : open tab

  • Ctrl + W : close tab

  • Ctrl + Tab : next tab (yeah, I know)

  • Ctrl + L : go to location dialog

  • Ctrl + K : go to search page