Re: A simple unit test framework

James Kanze <>
7 May 2007 00:20:12 -0700
On May 6, 9:46 pm, Ian Collins <> wrote:

James Kanze wrote:

On May 6, 3:31 am, Ian Collins <> wrote:

Gianni Mariani wrote:

I have met very few customers that know what a spec is even if it
smacked them up the side of the head.

Welcome to the club!

Sad. Inevitably it leads to pissed off customer.

Any agile process (XP, Scrum or whatever) is ideal for this situation.

If your goal is to rip off the customer, yes.

   [First, a meta-comment: I am, of course, exagerating to make
   a point, and I don't really suspect Ian of trying to use any
   technique to rip off his customers.]

So by helping them to get what they really wanted, rather than forcing
them to commit to what they thought the wanted, I'm ripping them off?

How does testing help the customer to get what he really wants?
Some prototyping is useful for this, although the code used for
it rarely ends up in the final product. And some things don't
even need prototyping: local law specifies how numerical values
are to be rounded in financial transactions, for example, and
neither the customer nor I have any room to manoeuvre concerning
"what we want".

Roughly speaking, the user interface needs prototyping; the rest
of the code needs specification. But I don't really see a role
for testing. Typical customers wouldn't understand the test
code anyway.

The person I'm ripping off is me, I'm doing my self out of all the bug
fixing and rework jobs.

Man you have a strange view of customer focused development.

Customer focused means talking to the customer in his language,
not in yours. A test suite doesn't do this. Getting a customer
to sign off a project on the basis of a test that he's not
capable of understanding is not, IMHO, showing him much respect.

To come back to an obvious case: for certain types of thread
safety problems, I don't know how to write a test which is
guaranteed to fail. If I could convince my customer to
use "passing the test" as the sole contractual requirement, then
I can ignore these issues. Personally, I would consider that
"ripping the customer off". I write my code to be thread safe,
even if I don't know how to test for it.

James Kanze (GABI Software)
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