[TIP] testing: why bother?

Michael Foord michael at voidspace.org.uk
Wed Mar 23 09:26:02 PDT 2011

On 23/03/2011 15:37, C. Titus Brown wrote:
> [snip...]
> Also I don't know of any actual evidence that TDD or agile actually improves
> programming speed, ability, thought, or anything else, over other methods of
> specification (more formal ones, for example).  Anecdotes need not apply.

Well sure, but unless you have evidence to the contrary (anecdotes need 
not apply) that's entirely moot.


>> I have actually been thinking recently that if I were to have the
>> opportunity to teach programming to a beginner then I would like to
>> try starting with TDD (&  probably also VCS) from the very beginning. I
>> have recently watched a couple of novice programmers suffer through
>> their formal instruction, largely because they were always piling
>> uncertainty upon uncertainty. When doing assignments, they would add
>> some code that they thought worked, then some more code that they
>> thought worked, then some more, and then after a few hours of
>> difficult thinking and coding they would try to run the code and then
>> see that it doesn't work and then be very upset.
>> My hypotheses are that if they were taught to do TDD, this would be
>> much less of a problem, and that the relatively rigid discipline of
>> TDD makes it teachable even to programming novices.
>> I guess this is wandering rather far off topic, but I would be very
>> interested to hear from anyone who has tried this.
> I'm not a big fan of TDD so I may not be doing this with conviction, but
> I have at least tried a little bit ;).
> Lest anyone think I'm negative on the whole concept, I'm not!  I am just
> confused about how to do a good job of inculcating testing; coming from my
> background, I thought it would be easier to put into effect, but it hasn't
> been so far.  I'd love to figure out how to do it.  And how to measure the
> effect so that I can prove I've done it.
> --titus


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