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I personally found Kent Beck's book very tedious and boring. In it , simple classes are bludgeoned into submission through the over use of tests.

From Ganssle's article at http://www.ganssle.com/articles/deconstructing%20xp.htm

"XP's motivating guru, Kent Beck, also has a new book out. Test Driven Development (Addison Wesley, 2003, ISBN 0-321-14653-0) focuses on XP's testing practice.

I bought the book because I'm fascinated with testing. It's usually done as an afterthought, and rarely hits the hard conditions. Unit tests are notoriously poor. The programmer runs his new function through the simplest of situations, totally ignoring timing issues or boundary conditions. So of course the function passes, only to inflict the team with agony when integrated into the entire system. XP's idea of writing the tests in parallel with the code is quite brilliant; only then do we see all possible conditions that can occur.

Beck argues for building tests first and deriving the code from these tests. It's sort of like building a comprehensive final exam and then designing a class from that. An intriguing idea.

But X what if the test is wrong? Test driven development (TDD) then guarantees the code will be wrong as well.

Worse, TDD calls for building even the smallest project by implementing the minimal functionality needed to do anything. Need a function to compute the Fibonacci series? Create the simplest possible test first X in this case, check to see that fibonnaci(0) is 0. Then write a function that passes that test. Try fibonnaci(1); that breaks the test, so recode both the test and the function. Iterate till correct.

The book shows how to build a factorial program, which results in 91 lines of code and 89 of test... after 125 compilations! Klaxons sound, common sense alarms trip.

Agile proponents love the interactive and fast action of this sort of method. But programming isn't about playing Doom and Quake. If you're looking for an adrenaline rush try bungee jumping.

125 compilations for a trivial bit of code is not fast. Dynamic? You bet. But not fast.


Test Driven Development is not quite the same as having unit tests or automated tests, which I believe the poster asked for. The jury is still very much out on how useful TDD (and XP for that matter) really is.

Many talented programmers believe XP/TDD is essentially hype. . This is not to say Pius is wrong, just to add a note of caution, be skeptical of the XP hype machine.

"Try it and decide for yourself" is probably the best advice possible

I totally agree with your last statement.

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