Writing Good Tests.

This afternoon I paired with Mateu on my Java TTT. We deleted a lot of code, and reverted back to the step before implementing rules for win and draw. I wanted to try and get a grasp of the thought process behind designing with tests and truly doing the simplest thing possible.

The first thing I noticed, was that it took us almost half an hour to write the first test, and it wasn’t the test I was expecting. I had approached this part of the project with my prior knowledge of the domain at the forefront of my mind. I knew that in order to determine if there is a winner on the board, somehow I need to check each row, column and diagonal for 3 matching symbols. With that in mind, I started with rows, and designed a test for the creation of a method that would return the “rows” in a given board.

When working with Mateu, he took a big step back. “What is the feature that the client is expecting you to deliver?”. Having explained what it was, it was immediately obvious that a test of that name would not have been suitable (it was something about rules and knowing if there was a winner/draw). So instead, we looked a simpler question, “What if the first row was all X’s”. This test made sense to me, it breaks the problem down, and faciliates writing the simplest thing that could possibly work. I’m keen to finish off working through this problem and see what solution it leads me to. My hope is that it will lead me to a simpler way to create projects, because ultimately I won’t know the domain in advance and I’ll need to be able to make incremental steps in the project design.