Automated tests before reaching market - worth it or not?
Graham Cox Apr 01, 2017
This is more a question than an article. Is it worth spending time on automated testing on a product you've not yet launched? Especially when you're a small team, or even a single person on your own.
By this, I don't mean Unit Tests, but the automated acceptance tests - both at the API and the UI level.
On the one hand, anything that takes time away from feature development means it takes longer to get to market, and this in itself is a bad thing. Longer to market means more chance of getting beaten to the punch, more time to get customers, etc. There's also the fact that UI tests are generally quite brittle, and even API tests pre-launch are likely to be subject to change much more often.
On the other hand, if you don't write the tests as you go, why will you go back and write them later? Some technical debt you need to pay back, others you can keep rationalising away. And a lack of automated tests means more time doing manual tests, which ends up with lower confidence in things working right.
So - is it worth spending the time writing automated tests before launch?