Friday, April 13, 2007

Seriously Infected

After writing some tests for a Tomcat valve today, I came to wonder about what is it that I like the most with unit testing.

At first, I thought that it is when these red lights turn green - oh the jolly green! This is a truly enjoyable moment when all tests pass.

Then I thought, it is maybe when green lights turn red - oh the scary red! When I touch some piece of code and immediately see the impact it has, I really feel like unit testing saved my day (and possibly some nights).

But finally, I came to realize that, for me, the best moment with unit testing is when I ask myself this simple question: "How am I going to test this?". No matter if I am testing an existing piece of code or writing the tests first, asking this question is really a delightful moment. I reckon this is because I start considering what I will test as a living entity and not anymore as a mere concept: by figuring out its execution environment, its inputs and outputs, all this code or code-to-be comes to life in a very vivid way.

Am I describing the apex of some kind of geeky childbirth? I do not know but what I know for sure is that the more complex it is to imagine how to test something at first glance, the most rewarding it will be to figure out how to do it!