[TIP] testing: why bother?

C. Titus Brown ctb at msu.edu
Wed Mar 23 09:40:44 PDT 2011

On Wed, Mar 23, 2011 at 04:26:02PM +0000, Michael Foord wrote:
> 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.

This is an ... interesting opinion, actually.  If you're dealing with
institutional inertia -- working within a large team, or on educational
curricula -- then *positive* evidence is needed to effect a shift.
It may not be sufficient, but it's certainly necessary.

Since the thread started with the question, "how can I convince people that
testing is a good way to go?", which quickly morphed into people talking about
how great TDD is, I think it's pretty relevant to ask why we should convince
people.  If the answer is "because we like the color blue" (a.k.a. I have
nothing but personal anecdotes that boil down to "I'm an awesome programmer
/work with awesome programmers, and I/we do TDD, and you should too!") then
that's not very convincing.

Maybe I'm just being curmudgeonly... but "drink the kool-aid, it's tasty!" has
never struck me as a good argument :)

Of course, given that I'm still in the backwaters of scientific programming
trying to convince people that *version control* is a good idea, I clearly have
other things to work on!

C. Titus Brown, ctb at msu.edu

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