I have to head off shortly to teach so I will give a brief answer now.

The part I had to correct was the idea that one writes every unit test before development. The reason I believed that is because every TDD advocate I ever talked to, no exceptions, did exactly that and told me exactly that. It was only in reactions to my part I article that I learned this isn’t what Beck advocated and I corrected it in the Part II and gave credit.

That has little effect on my core thesis, though, that tests written before development don’t reflect the design changes we make in development. Always.

Second, just as with buying a gun in America, there is a whole lot that comes along with unit testing, none of which I buy into at all. UTs don’t replace design documents, that is freaking crazy. Third, UTs are not more important than development. Fourth, 100% code coverage is fanatic bullshit. Fifth, what I said about blind spots and a second pair of eyes. And so on.

And finally, unit tests are a lot of work. A ridiculous amount of work, and when I can pay as many BlackBox testers as I want $5 an hour here why should I waste my time doing work I find tedious and don’t really believe in?

As for reading Beck, no insult intended but I don’t read books about phrenology either. I do of course concede that I have no business writing with any authority about an idea whose core text I haven’t read, but what I was writing about was TDD as its practitioners have evangelized it; something approximately magical. People say “writing tests after coding doesn’t work.” Why? “You’re stupid.” People say “design documents are obsolete.” No, they aren’t. I don’t need to read Beck to have any authority to repudiate that.

And as it happens I have a $30,000 library of physics texts I have barely dented and I am 65 and very conscious of time running out, doors closing every day. And I have new flutes and saxophones I have barely played. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Granted, if Beck gets people testing their work, great, but I think it would be a lot more productive to teach people to concentrate, get rid of 90% of meetings, cultivate focus. See my recent article about why testing is so important now.

And now I must run. I look forward to your reply.

American Software Developer living in Vietnam. Classical musician (guitar, woodwinds), weightlifter, multilingual, misanthrope • XY

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