Thursday, July 2, 2009

TDD as Future Self Paternalism

I have a lot of trouble stopping myself snacking when I am concentrating on a problem. In the moment when my brain is distracted I lack the mental awareness to control my behavior. I can be back and forth to the cupboard and halfway through a pack of chips before it even hits me what I'm doing. For a while, I struggled with this and struggled with my weight, but eventually I hit upon an ingenuously simple solution: just stop buying snacks. Then in the moment of thought, they won't be around to be eaten.

I am not a Test Driven Development (TDD) dogmatist, my coverage only averages about 60%, and I rarely write tests before code. However, I do force myself to write code in units, and write the test straight after each unit. The thing I noticed is that if I delay writing unit tests until after all the units are working together end to end, then because after all the system "already works" my subconscious enthusiasm for writing unit tests falls markedly, and their quality and coverage fall likewise. Whereas if I write the unit tests just after each unit, it's part of "getting everything to work", and so I am willing to put the effort into doing it well.

No comments:

Post a Comment