in reply to When Test Suites Attack

It sounds to me as if you're testing too large a chunk of functionality. You're describing integration tests, not unit tests. This is too big to be a "unit".

I'd put in a mock XML generator that captures the data structure you're passing through to the thing that make XML/XHTML. Verify that the data structure you're passing to the XML/XHTML generator is correct. Then, I'd test your XML/XHTML generator completely separately. Those are the "units" involved here.


My criteria for good software:
  1. Does it work?
  2. Can someone else come in, make a change, and be reasonably certain no bugs were introduced?

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Re^2: When Test Suites Attack
by BrowserUk (Pope) on Oct 30, 2005 at 14:48 UTC

    Would you agree that the integration tests are required?


    Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
    Lingua non convalesco, consenesco et abolesco. -- Rule 1 has a caveat! -- Who broke the cabal?
    "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority".
    In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice.
      Yes, I do. But, the developer(s) involved in the code being integrated shouldn't be doing integration tests. Those should be done by someone else, preferably a dedicated tester (though an uninvolved developer would do). And, integration tests are no substitute for unit-tests, system tests, and user-acceptance tests. Each tests a different view and a different slice of the product.

      My criteria for good software:
      1. Does it work?
      2. Can someone else come in, make a change, and be reasonably certain no bugs were introduced?

        That's a "big shop" attitude, but where possible, I totally agree with you.

        However, and this is where we may disagree, is that I see a tendancy for XP and TDD or maybe it's just some practitioners of those, that tend to place too high an emphasis upon unit testing. There is a tendancy for unit tests to be too all encompassing; too extensive; too mandated; too important. Effectively, I see unit tests being used as a substitute for, and largely overlapping the bounds of integration testing, and another form of testing that seems to be out of favour currently--functional verification.

        Under the schemes of testing I grew up with, unit tests were the programmers own sanity checks of his own code. They were entirly within his mandate, his responsibility, and for his benefit. They written by the programmer, run by the programmer, acted upon by the programmer. They served his purpose, not that of the organisation. They were, by implication, white-box tests.

        Once the programmer says his code is ready, then the responsibility and purview moves away from the programmer to the tester, and into the realms of Functional Verification. These are black-box tests, written to specification by a third party, code unseen; and run by a third party. These tests are for the organisation.

        Integration tests are used when modules written by disparate groups come together. Their form is dependant upon the nature of the coming together. Where there is a definite caller/called relationship, the UT and FV tests of the calling code becomes an effective IT of the interface between the calling and called code.

        In other situations, there is a more peer-level relationship between the modules and there may not be any (in-house) application who's FV & UT will perform this role. In these circumstances, there is a need to write an in-house integration suite. This may also take the form of a demonstration application and/or user acceptance test.

        System test comes when a complete system is put together. This may or may not: happen in-house; be a real application, or demonstration; form a part of a user acceptance, or contractual obligation.

        The trick to a successful and cost effective test program, is to minimise the overlap between these levels, whilst ensuring coverage.


        Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
        Lingua non convalesco, consenesco et abolesco. -- Rule 1 has a caveat! -- Who broke the cabal?
        "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority".
        In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice.