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Let's Make Testing Fun Again

by Noel Rappin

Published September 6, 2012 in Programming

“Programmers Love Writing Tests” is the subtitle of one of Kent Beck’s first articles about Test-Driven Development. I don’t think I’m alone in being drawn to TDD at first because it was fun. The quick and consistent feedback and the ability to turn complicated problems into a series of smaller problems to be solved made TDD development seem more like a game than work.

Eventually TDD became less fun. Slow tests made running test suites a cruel joke. Test code gets bulky, and is hard to refactor because, of course, tests don’t have their own tests.

Let’s fix that. We’ll show some notorious testing joy-killers, like slow tests, hard to read tests, tests that paper over bad designs rather than driving new ones. And we’ll squash them, and regain testing delight.