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From Ross Gardler <>
Subject Getting test cases written
Date Wed, 15 May 2002 17:07:22 GMT
 > Thus after applying a patch, or implementing an enhancement
 > you run the JUnit tests, and you might see - depending
 > on the completness of the tests that still everything is fine,
 > or the patch has some unwanted side effects.
 > Thus building up a JUnit test base might help to keep
 > a stable codebase

I am sure many of you are aware of the benifits of unit testing etc. (if
not then you *must* read Extreme Programming Explained by kent Beck)

I have been using unit tests on many projects for a while. In my 
experience getting people to write them up front is next to impossible 
so what I do now is:

1) regularly autogenerate test classes against the code base using a
wizrd in our IDE (TogetherJ, but we want to move to one that works from ANT)

2) Whena bug is discovered the *first* thing the developer does is write 
a test case to reproduce it. The name of this test case is logged in the 
buzilla bug report and the bug number is inserted into a comment in the code

3) The developer can then go about fixing the bug.

4) When the developer wishes to test a fix they need only run a single
test case. Making for a much quicker cycle through the "possible fix",
"doesn't work" and "whoo, it works" states

5) Once that test passes, the developer runs the whole test suite on the
whole application. If a new bug is discoverred go back to step 2.

6) Once all tests are passed the CVS is updated

Over time you build up a very comprehensive set of tests that start to
catch bugs for you at the point of applying the patch. Furthermore, the 
crossreferncing with past bugs in the bug database often helps in 
solving future bugs.

Of course writing the tests up front would be better but the reality is
(especially in Open Source projects) that they don;t get written. Our 
method at least gets some written.

I promise you that the speed of our bug fixes has improved since 
implementing this process.

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