Pitfalls to Avoid in Test-Driven Development

Whether you’re a software developer or a DevOps engineer, test-driven development is one important aspect of software programming that is gaining much attention and popularity. It can be best referred to as a programming style that particularly involves 3 activities that are tightly interlinked. These include unit testing, programming & refactoring the source code.

Test driven development follows a set of rules where the developer or engineer must first write a unit test. This test should describe a program’s aspect. Then run the test, and write a simple code to make the test pass. Once that stage is cleared, the developer should refactor the code conforming to the simplicity criteria and then repeat the process.

The growing popularity of TDD is much owed to the fact that companies are now looking for agile development in operations and increasingly focusing on speed to market. For continuous delivery greater process efficiency is required which is why developers are pushing further into TDD. The basic idea behind TDD is to write tests before coding.

Though this approach encourages developers to stay focused on their goal on building the functionality for the test to pass, it does come with many pitfalls. To avoid these pitfalls, DevOps training can be extremely helpful. For IT professionals involved in test-driven development, DevOps training is essential to have a good understanding of core testing concepts and best practices. DevOps training courses pertaining to testing can help novice and intermediate developers to gain sound knowledge about implementing various types of testing in DevOps environment to achieve success and better results.

Now before you join a training program, here’s a quick overview of the pitfalls in test-driven development to help you identify and understand what they are.

Pitfalls to Avoid in TDD

Test-Driven Development Promotes Micro Design instead of Macro Design

The concept of TDD resolves around the mantra of doing the simplest of things to ensure that the test works. Though keeping things simple is a good approach, it is also a pitfall as it leads to myopic designs; and involves constant revisits and refactoring in order to encompass the next milestone. Programmers in TDD ignore the complexities and disregard the macro scale design practice which sometimes backfires. So, to avoid this pitfall include provisions in your code for future work & extensions.

No Use of Mocking Frameworks

In test-driven development, programmers don’t use mocking frameworks instead they test in isolation faking dependencies to isolate the methods to be tested. This is not feasible mostly because many legacy systems aren’t created for unit testing which makes isolating methods for testing next to impossible.

Here’s an example for better understanding:

Let’s say GetelementByID is the method we want to test. For this work, we will have to create IProductRepository stub in order to test the ProductService.GetelementByID in isolation. Now we’ll assume that we also have to test this method’s negative outcome with a product ID that is invalid.

So, for the negative outcome testing we’ll have to create a new and separate repository. And this will go on for each type of test we want to check. This makes the whole process time consuming and argulably leave us frustrated and needless to say with severe maintenance headache.

Alternatively, we could have spared ourselves from all that had we used a mocking framework and have added conditional logic to the single-stub repository class.  

Too Many Test Setups

Test-driven development can involve too many test setups. And the ever-increasing amount of setup codes can lower the readability aspect. So, if readable testing methods are paramount for you, then the best way to avoid too many test setups again is the same approach as we discussed above—use mocking framework. You can gain a good understanding of this approach once you enroll in and complete your DevOps training and certification program.

Tests Written Retrospectively

Though the feedback loop gained once TDD is applied correctly can improve productivity significantly. Developers often complete a new feature while writing unit test retrospectively before the code is reviewed. They miss out on the green, red and refactor approach so as developers write down tests first for new codes, it turns test writing into a cumbersome task.

Test-Driven Development — Use it when it is the Right Approach

The purpose of any type of testing practice (be it test-driven development or any other) is to produce tests. It’s important to understand that automated testing is not always the best approach or substitute for real testers. Make sure you always have of mix of both when testing.

Also, before you choose TDD as your testing approach make sure that you take time to understand the project and see if it is the right fit, and that everyone working on the project is on board with TDD so that things work out smoothly and efficiently.

Now if we got you wondering how to decide if TDD is the best and right approach for the project then we’d suggest you to consider proper training in DevOps. Training is a must as it will provide you with quality information on a variety of testing techniques and approaches available. Besides this, you’ll also learn the pros and cons for each approach and acquire quality guidance on how to and when to use different testing techniques at your disposal. Training will brush up your skills and improve your knowledge regarding TDD and other techniques which will help you select the best approach for different projects that you work on and get the best results.  

About The Author
Account Manager (SMB) at QuickStart

Jasper Zubairi

Jasper is a passionate performer in the IT training space. With over 5 years of experience in sales, customer support and business development, he has helped a number of businesses meet their IT training needs through e-learning. When he is not working or studying, he likes to spend his time at the gym. You can find more of his blog posts here at QuickStart.