Wednesday, May 7, 2008

First Fix What You've Got

I have a routine when I'm working with tests, particularly with automated tests.

Step 1: Update the source code.
Step 2: Run the current tests.
Step 3: Write new tests.

This seems really slow at first. If I haven't touched a code base in a while and the developers haven't been maintaining the tests*, I often wind up spending an hour or so just getting the tests and the code back to where they were.

A shaky foundation is no place to start testing. So first stabilize, then extend.

* Bad developers! You break the test, you should fix it.

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