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writing test cases

From: Karl Fogel <kfogel_at_galois.collab.net>
Date: 2001-03-05 22:58:46 CET

Many of us implementing the filesystem interface have now gotten into
the habit of writing the test cases (see fs-test.c) *before* writing
the actual code. It's really helping us out a lot -- for one thing,
it forces one to define the task precisely in advance, and also it
speedily reveals the bugs in one's first try (and second, and

I'd like to recommend this practice to everyone. If you're
implementing an interface, or adding an entirely new feature, or even
just fixing a bug, a test for it is a good idea. And if you're going
to write the test anyway, you might as well write it first. :-)

Yoshiki Hayashi's been sending test cases with all his patches lately,
which is what inspired me to write this mail to encourage everyone to
do the same. Having those test cases makes patches easier to examine,
because they show the patch's purpose very clearly. It's like having
a second log message, one whose accuracy is verified at run-time.

That said, I don't think we want a rigid policy about this, at least
not yet. If you encounter a bug somewhere in the code, but you only
have time to write a patch with no test case, that's okay -- having
the patch is still useful; someone else can write the test case.

As Subversion gets more complex, though, the automated test suite gets
more crucial, so let's all get in the habit of using it early.

Received on Sat Oct 21 14:36:25 2006

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