Red Squirrel Reflections
Dave Hoover explores the psychology of software development


Ashcroft in Context
Friday, August 27, 2004

The last few weeks have seen some exciting new developments on my current project. The combination of Obie and Aslak on the project gave birth to a new codehaus project. Ashcroft is a SecurityManager meant to enforce that certain behaviors (like file I/O) are not occurring during unit test execution. So why would anyone want something like Ashcroft looking over their shoulder?

Let me try to put Ashcroft in context.

Imagine that you believe strongly in test-driven development. Imagine you inherit a sizeable code base. Imagine that the unit test suite that exercises that code base takes over 10 minutes. That's about 9 minutes and 53 seconds too long, and the delayed feedback you will get as you cycle through red, green, refactor is going to be painful. Your number one priority is getting that test suite running fast. You are suspicious about why the test suite takes 10 minutes...

Enter Ashcroft. You set up Ashcroft in IntelliJ and re-run your test suite. Wow, that runs much faster now! But you get about 453 CantDoThat exceptions and your test suite fails miserably. Ashcroft is imposing its values...er, providing feedback to you. Use this feedback to refactor your tests (you'll probably want to use mock objects). When Ashcroft is happy, your test suite will run very, very fast.

One side effect of using Ashcroft is that it encourages you to create explicit boundaries between unit tests and other kinds of tests.

Posted by Dave [Link]

Refactoring to Patterns
Saturday, August 21, 2004

Amazon has notified me that Joshua Kerievsky's new book Refactoring to Patterns is in the mail. I have a lot of respect for Joshua and I know he has been working on this book for a long time. I have great expectations.

Posted by Dave [Link]

Mr. Turkentine on Testing First
Friday, August 13, 2004

My kids and I were watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory last night when Charlie Bucket's teacher said something that caught my TDD-sensitive ears:

"I've just decided to switch our Friday schedule to Monday, which means that the test we take each Friday, on what we learned during the week, will now take place on Monday, before we've learned it. But, since today is Tuesday, it doesn't matter in the slightest."

Chris has something a tad less nonsensical to say on the topic of learning and TDD.

Posted by Dave [Link]

Reclaiming Joy
Thursday, August 12, 2004

I enjoyed reading Brian's thoughts on the impact of the Agile Manifesto.

Posted by Dave [Link]


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