TDD is not about unit tests

-- Dave Farley & Arjan Molenaar

On many occasions when we come at a customer, we're told the development team is doing TDD. Often, though, a team is writing unit tests, but it's not doing TDD.

This is an important distinction. Unit tests are useful things. Unit testing though says nothing about how to create useful tests that can live alongside your code. On the other hand TDD is an essential practice for improving the design of your code. These are very different things.

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Monorepos for true CI

On the 15th and 16th of April CITCON Europe took place in Cluj-Napoca (Transylvania). CITCON is an open spaces conference. The agenda is made up by the people attending the conference. Because of this there are always a couple of nice takeaways.

This year Ivan Moore (@ivanrmoore) made a claim that you can not do CI without using monorepos. A monorepo is simply one repository where all source code ends up. This is contrary to a setup with (for example) Git source control where you have a single repository per module. The idea of having a single (big) repository with all code seems strange. After some thorough discussion the merits of monorepos were clear to me.

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FitNesse in your IDE

FitNesse has been around for a while. The tool has been created by Uncle Bob back in 2001. It’s centered around the idea of collaboration. Collaboration within a (software) engineering team and with your non-programmer stakeholders. FitNesse tries to achieve that by making it easy for the non-programmers to participate in the writing of specifications, examples and acceptance criteria. It can be launched as a wiki web server, which makes it accessible to basically everyone with a web browser.

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Building IntelliJ plugins from the command line

For a few years already, IntelliJ IDEA has been my IDE of choice. Recently I dove into the world of plugin development for IntelliJ IDEA and was unhappily surprised. Plugin development all relies on IDE features. It looked hard to create a build script to do the actual plugin compilation and packaging from a build script. The JetBrains folks simply have not catered for that. Unless you're using TeamCity as your CI tool, you're out of luck.

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CITCON Europe 2014 wrap-up

On the 19th and 20th of September CITCON (pronounced "kit-con") took place in Zagreb, Croatia. CITCON is dedicated to continuous integration and testing. It brings together some of the most interesting people of the European testing and continuous integration community. These people also determine the topics of the conference.

They can do this because CITCON is an Open Space conference. If you're not familiar with the concept of Open Space, check out Wikipedia. On Friday evening, attendees can pitch their proposals. Through dot voting and (constant) shuffling of the schedule, the attendees create their conference program.

In this post we'll wrap up a few topics that were discussed.

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Dependency management in FitNesse with Apache Ivy

In a software project dependency management is default practice. So what about dependency management in your FitNesse acceptance test suite?

In my previous post I explained how you can make FitNesse and Maven work together. If you're not into Maven, but want to handle (Java) project dependencies in a convenient way, you're probably using Ivy. Ivy is used by Gradle and SBT under the hood, but not packages with Ant by default. It's a neat tool, it does dependency management very well. It is compatible with Maven's POM files: it can read them as well as write them. In this post I'll use Ant as a basis.

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FitNesse and dependency management with Maven

As a software developer you're using dependency management to handle dependencies on your project; include frameworks and libraries to your project. If you're a Java developer you're probably using Maven. When you're not using Maven you're probably using one of the more versatile build tools like Ant or Gradle, both can use Ivy for dependency management. Either way, you're not putting binaries (jars) in your source control repository.

How about your FitNesse acceptance suite? Since it's all software and all belongs to the project, you probably want to have the same standards when executing the acceptance test suite. It's really not that different from executing your regular (unit) tests.

In this blog I'll explain how to launch a FitNesse suite from Maven. I'll also elaborate on how to get FitNesse to recognize the dependencies required to launch the application. A future post will be dedicated to the FitNesse/Ivy combo.

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Measure the right coverage

I’ve found many people to care for a high unit test coverage. It tells you something about how well your code is tested. Or does it?

Unit tests typically test the smallest piece of code. It is an excellent strategy to write your tests in conjunction with the production code. The tests help you shape the interfaces and help explore the problem domain.

Big question is: does the business/product owner care? What do those tests tell him (or her) about the actual functionality delivered? Fairly little really, if any at all. This boils down to the next question: why care about unit test coverage then?

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Get your webtests in FitNesse with Xebium

In the first installment on Xebium, Cirilo explained the ideas behind this FitNesse fixture:

Xebium creates a simple way to use Selenium IDE (low learning curve) and FitNesse (ease of maintenance) to it's fullest when it comes to maintaining a web application test suites.

Xebium is using the same keywords as Selenium IDE. This has the huge advantage that no person should learn another DSL. Since tests are stated this way, they can be copied between Selenium IDE and FitNesse without a hassle (the FitNesse formatter for Selenium IDE is rather trivial). And to be honest: as long as there are XPath and Regular Expressions in the code, it makes no sense to come up with a substitute for verifyText.

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