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Discussion on: Unit Testing is Overrated

boyen86 profile image
Boyen86

"In a perfect world, you're right. My employer certainly doesn't exist in a perfect world though."

I'm not sure how this is relevant? We are just discussing how we are creating software. It's not as if it takes longer to create/maintain.

"I presume you're a TDD advocate. I mostly write the implementation first then test it, but I wouldn't be creating an interface just to add mocks in tests. I also wouldn't be creating an interface if I only have one concrete implementation - since that implementation effectively works as the interface, until I need to abstract it in some way."

I'm just wondering how the design process works. When you are writing class A and B, and A relies on B, but B is not yet written and you start with writing A, surely you'll program against the interface of B instead of its actual implementation? Anyway, that's how I do it. I will have an interface before an implementation 99.9999% of the time. I do not feel like a well defined interface is clogging up the code, for everyone that's not interested in the implementation it is an easy overview of the API.

And... even though I'd say it is irrelevant I'm neither an opponent nor advocate of TDD. In what order you write your tests or classes is for me an implementation detail. The interface here, however, is that your tests have a purpose in the design and maintenance of your code and that part is important.

"This is a rather large overstatement. Don't they? Why not? Is it impossible to write a high level test that invokes the low level intricacies? Do all of those low level intricacies need to be tested? I'm currently conducting interviews, and rejected one candidate in part because they were writing tests for getters/setters."

I do believe I gave some options in my post, and why you shouldn't be testing logic of low level classes on a high level (something with complexity)

Your tests should be SOLID just like your code base. As soon as you need to go over multiple aspects you are increasing the complexity of your code (test) and with that the readability. Just keep it simple is all that I'm advocating here.

You write tests for logic, if your getters and setters have logic... for whatever reason, I would surely want to test my logic while designing my class. If you are testing the framework of getters and setters I agree with you, but that honestly has nothing to do with with the intricacies (=logic) of the class that I am referring to.

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190245 profile image
Dave

We are just discussing how we are creating software. It's not as if it takes longer to create/maintain.

We're deliberately staying away from languages, and maybe it's just my approach, but rigidly sticking to SOLID principles (or any principles for that matter) certainly does take longer than me writing code and then tidying it up to obey principles whenever that's needed.

Don't get me wrong, I follow SOLID closely, right out of the gate, but just not strictly.

When you are writing class A and B, and A relies on B, but B is not yet written and you start with writing A, surely you'll program against the interface of B instead of its actual implementation?

That approach is counter-intuitive, at least to me. If A depends on B, but B is not written yet... I'd be starting with writing B. Only in the case that B is being written by someone else on the team would we agree an interface up front so both can work independently.

Just keep it simple is all that I'm advocating here.

I'm much the same, hence why I originally posted here that I think I'm somewhere between you & the original author.

You write tests for logic, if your getters and setters have logic...

In that case, I'd submit that they aren't getters and setters, and have side-effects that violate SOLID principles.

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boyen86 profile image
Boyen86

"In that case, I'd submit that they aren't getters and setters, and have side-effects that violate SOLID principles."

Hence my ".... for whatever reason", there's more to logic than side effects. For example, a myriad of if statements or whatever. All things that don't belong in a getter or setter, but if you insist that it should be in the getter or setter, at least write a contract (=test) on how you intend the getter or setter should behave.

And that's the core of this whole discussion right? Is it necessary to test logic that isn't directly visible to the outside world?

You could say, if it isn't directly visible then it doesn't need to be tested. I'd say if the code is there, it is there for a reason, if it there for a reason it should be tested. If the code is not there for a reason, get rid of it. And all these questions would've been circumvented if your tests were written during the design of a class.

You can potentially test this in a big integration test, but, why would you? I'd say that's a violation of KISS principles because the coupling between a class and its contract is lost and I, as a developer working on your code need to jump through hoops just to find out how you intended your piece of software to work.

"We're deliberately staying away from languages, and maybe it's just my approach, but rigidly sticking to SOLID principles (or any principles for that matter) certainly does take longer than me writing code and then tidying it up to obey principles whenever that's needed."

Sure, perhaps, I don't think I'm necessarily faster than a two-step approach. And everything perfect in one go is utopic, sometimes it takes refactoring to get things right.

I do feel like it is our responsibility as software engineers to either convince our employer that a standardized approach is beneficial, and also that as an expert in the field, it is good to say no. I hope that writing standardized software doesn't only occur in a perfect world.

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190245 profile image
Dave

I do feel like it is our responsibility as software engineers to either convince our employer that a standardized approach is beneficial, and also that as an expert in the field, it is good to say no.

On this, we both agree. I also know that I've been in situations in the past where arguing for standardisation has fallen on deaf ears.

There's a multitude of reasons why others in the business will try to get us to cut corners, to deliver slightly faster etc. Sometimes we can say no, sometimes we're overruled.

Hence my belief that 100% standardised code, does indeed only exist in a perfect world. Maybe 80% or so is a more realistic aim.