You are responsible for making that feature work. Write a test. Just do it…

Today the PM of a project I am working on sent an email with a small list of issues that we needed to get resolved before shipping an early build to the customer for a weekly review. In his list of issues MY NAME was tagged next to a feature that I KNOW was working. I dev’d it, tested, saw it work.

Now the project I’m working on encourages unit tested code, which is a fantastic project to be on since I am a big proponent of Unit/Integration/Automated tests. Heck I wrote a tool to help run them easier (StatLight).

What I did.

The problem was this. I dev’d a feature out in like 5 minutes, took about 2 seconds to decide if I should write a unit test to prove my feature worked and this is where I failed. Manually verified my change checked in the production code without its test and I was hurriedly moved on to the next task.

About 20 min later I get a quick I.M. from a co-worker saying he had a small merge conflict in the file I just checked-in. Quickly told him how to get around his merge issue (not realizing after he checked in) that my “quick 5min dev task” was accidently removed in the merge.

What I SHOULD have done!

What I should have done was write the 2 lines of test code first. (you can argue test after/test first, I prefer test-first). Proven my code wasn’t working, by running the test, and then implement the 5 min feature making the test pass. Then when my co-worker ran into his merge issue.

Test would have failed telling him his merge didn’t go as planned.

This would have also avoided

  • PM wouldn’t have had to discover the issue, Screenshot and write up an email.
  • I wouldn’t have had to peruse source control history to understand why my “working” feature wasn’t working.
  • I wouldn’t have had to willingly confess my sins in this post.

If your feature doesn’t have a coinciding automated test. How do you know it’s still working?

Happy Testing!

5 thoughts on “You are responsible for making that feature work. Write a test. Just do it…”

  1. I’ve read about unit testing and even dabbled once or twice, but the last sentence in your post really spoke to me, and might be enough to convince me to fully embrace unit testing: “How do you know it’s still working?” I think that’s brilliant.

  2. Quite simply you don’t! But you’ll usually find out at some later stage – when it costs more.


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