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Re: [extremeperl] Re: Testing, Audience, etc.

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  • Rob Nagler
    ... There are many different kinds of tests including performance and load testing. In XP we re mostly concerned about unit and acceptance testing. ... What
    Message 1 of 20 , Feb 6, 2002
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      Drew Taylor writes:
      > Could you explain a little more about the two types of tests you mention
      > below?

      There are many different kinds of tests including performance and load
      testing. In XP we're mostly concerned about unit and acceptance
      testing.

      > Specifically the acceptance tests, and how they would relate to web
      > apps.

      What is beautiful about the Web is that HTTP and HTML are a messaging
      interface. You can build a complete acceptance test suite without
      dealing with GUI scripting.

      An acceptance test is a way of verifying end-user functions. A unit
      test verifies programmer level functions. Both can test Web software.

      > I'm trying to become more of an "architect",

      Before you do, read this article:

      http://joel.editthispage.com/stories/storyReader$320

      One of the things I'm trying to learn is to become less of an architect.

      > so a lot of the "domain
      > knowledge" stuff you & other texts mention is still a little fuzzy
      > to me.

      Domain knowledge is simply "the problem". What I like about XP is
      that it is problem-oriented, not solution-oriented.

      > I
      > read some of the docs on bivio, and it sounded very interesting.
      > Unfortunately more of it than I wanted was over my head. I'm very intrigued
      > about the platform you released and how to learn more about it in the
      > future - it would be a great learning tool for me.

      The great thing about perl is that lots of people have created lots of
      code. We put out bOP, because it has no intrinsic value as a
      product. There are just too many good toolkits out there. I consider
      this a testament to perl more than anything else. You can create
      incredibly solid software very quickly.

      > It sounds like the tests I wrote last night would be unit tests as they
      > test object instantiation & the APIs.

      Yes, it sounds like you wrote unit tests. They are incredibly
      important tools. We're slowly creating unit tests for our code. It's
      tough to do, but we regret it every time we make changes and there is
      no test to validate that we haven't broken anything.

      Hope this helps.

      Rob
    • Drew Taylor
      ... How do you do that? I ve only heard of tools that allow you to create a script and then playback that script. This is semiuseful, but what happens if you
      Message 2 of 20 , Feb 6, 2002
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        At 10:52 PM 2/6/2002 -0700, Rob Nagler wrote:
        >Drew Taylor writes:
        > > Specifically the acceptance tests, and how they would relate to web
        > > apps.
        >
        >What is beautiful about the Web is that HTTP and HTML are a messaging
        >interface. You can build a complete acceptance test suite without
        >dealing with GUI scripting.
        >An acceptance test is a way of verifying end-user functions. A unit
        >test verifies programmer level functions. Both can test Web software.

        How do you do that? I've only heard of tools that allow you to create a
        script and then playback that script. This is semiuseful, but what happens
        if you make a change to the interface? What tools/techniques have you used
        in the past to do acceptance testing? Do I have to setup a fake web server
        environment & run the tests that way? That wouldn't be too difficult in a
        CGI environment, and there are things like Apache::Fake now.

        > > I'm trying to become more of an "architect",
        >
        >Before you do, read this article:
        >
        >http://joel.editthispage.com/stories/storyReader$320
        >
        >One of the things I'm trying to learn is to become less of an architect.

        I hadn't seen that one before, although I have read some of Joel's other
        articles. I'll read it tomorrow morning. My brief look says it will be
        good. What I'm ultimately interested in learning is better design. Learning
        patterns is one step, and working to see the problem from a higher level
        view are two things I'm doing now.

        > > so a lot of the "domain
        > > knowledge" stuff you & other texts mention is still a little fuzzy
        > > to me.
        >
        >Domain knowledge is simply "the problem". What I like about XP is
        >that it is problem-oriented, not solution-oriented.

        OK. Why don't they just say that? :-) I know that at high levels it's
        essential that we're all speaking the same language, but can't that
        language be simpler?

        > > I
        > > read some of the docs on bivio, and it sounded very interesting.
        > > Unfortunately more of it than I wanted was over my head. I'm very
        > intrigued
        > > about the platform you released and how to learn more about it in the
        > > future - it would be a great learning tool for me.
        >
        >The great thing about perl is that lots of people have created lots of
        >code. We put out bOP, because it has no intrinsic value as a
        >product. There are just too many good toolkits out there. I consider
        >this a testament to perl more than anything else. You can create
        >incredibly solid software very quickly.

        This ability to quickly create a great product is one of the things that
        really attracted me once I got serious about perl. I've seen several
        frameworks that have interested me, including OpenInteract, OpenFrame, and
        Mason. One day I hope I have the time to put some effort into learning each
        better. I can just imagine all the tidbits of knowledge waiting to be
        gleaned from each one.

        > > It sounds like the tests I wrote last night would be unit tests as they
        > > test object instantiation & the APIs.
        >
        >Yes, it sounds like you wrote unit tests. They are incredibly
        >important tools. We're slowly creating unit tests for our code. It's
        >tough to do, but we regret it every time we make changes and there is
        >no test to validate that we haven't broken anything.

        Yep, they were definitely unit tests. And as I mentioned before, I'm very
        grateful I've written the ones I have because they did exactly what they're
        supposed to do. Tell me when bugs appear and when they've been fixed. Once
        I've gotten more tests done, I need to look into Test::Harness so I can run
        them all at one swoop.

        To illuistrate your last point, I have an example. At a previous employer,
        we had a large codebase of perl modules (I bet it's probably doubled by
        now) but no tests. I'm still close friends w/ the lead QA person and she
        often just tests what she can and blindly hopes everything else still
        works. It's just not possible to test every facet of the code for every
        release (which is every 1-2 months). I really doubt that a comprehensive
        test suite will ever be written, even though I have no doubt that it would
        be an extremely important tool. The CTO's not convinced of the need, and I
        don't think they would have/put the time to write a comprehensive suite
        anyway. Besides, they're probably a little afraid of all the little bugs it
        might turn up. ;-)

        Could this be a hidden reason some shops are wary of tests?

        Drew
        Drew Taylor JA[P|m_p|SQL]H
        http://www.drewtaylor.com/ Just Another Perl|mod_perl|SQL Hacker
        mailto:drew@... *** God bless America! ***
      • chromatic
        ... If it s hidden, it s not hidden very well. :) Here s my take. Programmers don t want to write tests because: - it s not their job - it s not real
        Message 3 of 20 , Feb 6, 2002
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          On Wednesday 06 February 2002 23:33, Drew Taylor wrote:

          > The CTO's not convinced of the need, and I don't think they would have/put
          > the time to write a comprehensive suite anyway. Besides, they're probably a
          > little afraid of all the little bugs it might turn up. ;-)

          > Could this be a hidden reason some shops are wary of tests?

          If it's hidden, it's not hidden very well. :) Here's my take.

          Programmers don't want to write tests because:

          - it's not their job
          - it's not "real" coding
          - it's not as sexy as "real" coding
          - they don't know how
          - they don't know (or believe) the benefits
          - it's hard (but only the smart ones really believe this)

          Managers don't want coders to write tests because:

          - it takes time away from "real" coding
          - QA should handle it
          - it's cheaper to fix bugs when they're found

          I'm only sympathetic to the coders who don't yet know how and those who think
          writing tests is difficult. (I'll even propose that, unless you're adding
          tests to a system that has none, it *shouldn't* be difficult. If it is,
          you're not coding for testability and you're asking for trouble.)

          Okay, my analyst hat is off. Feel free to jump on this thread with
          evangelism if anyone has questions.

          * * * * *

          As for your Test::Harness question, use h2xs to make a skeleton Makefile.PL
          for your project. Put your tests in the t/ subdirectory, edit the @INC paths
          if needed, and run 'perl Makefile.PL; make; make test' and it should Just
          Work.

          Now you know just about as much as I care to remember about the whole process.

          -- c
        • Drew Taylor
          ... All your points are right on the money. I would venture to guess that most good programmers would not be against writing tests. IMHO, it s usually
          Message 4 of 20 , Feb 7, 2002
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            At 11:45 PM 2/6/2002 -0700, chromatic wrote:

            ><snip> excellent points </snip>

            >I'm only sympathetic to the coders who don't yet know how and those who think
            >writing tests is difficult. (I'll even propose that, unless you're adding
            >tests to a system that has none, it *shouldn't* be difficult. If it is,
            >you're not coding for testability and you're asking for trouble.)

            All your points are right on the money. I would venture to guess that most
            "good" programmers would not be against writing tests. IMHO, it's usually
            managements edicts & timelines that forces the lack of tests. As for the
            last point, I read somewhere (perhaps in one of Steve McConnell's books)
            that a study found it takes magnitudes of more time/money to fix a bug
            after the fact that to fix it before. And if it negatively affects a
            customer, then multiply that cost by several factors for pissed off said
            customer. If only management could be made to understand this fact, getting
            tests would be much simpler. If I ever get a fulltime job again, I
            certainly will push for good tests, even if it's just unit tests.

            I was once one of those people who didn't understand how easy it is to
            write tests. Yes, it took some time to get a good test environment setup,
            but it was worth the few hous it took. And now I can easily and _quickly_
            add new tests. Modules like Test::Simple & Test::More are the key.

            >As for your Test::Harness question, use h2xs to make a skeleton Makefile.PL
            >for your project. Put your tests in the t/ subdirectory, edit the @INC paths
            >if needed, and run 'perl Makefile.PL; make; make test' and it should Just
            >Work.

            That's almost too easy... But then, this IS perl we're talking about. :-)

            [OT] As an aside, why is it that when I do Reply TO All in Eudora that the
            mailing list is on the to line twice, rather than the poster & the list?
            It's rather annoying since that is my usual behavior. Or is this considered
            bad form? I've never gotten a good answer on this question.

            Drew
            Drew Taylor JA[P|m_p|SQL]H
            http://www.drewtaylor.com/ Just Another Perl|mod_perl|SQL Hacker
            mailto:drew@... *** God bless America! ***
          • Ged Haywood
            Hi all, ... [snip] ... See attached. I once had to fly to seven or eight different countries over a period of several weeks to fix a $0.25 problem in a couple
            Message 5 of 20 , Feb 7, 2002
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              Hi all,

              On Thu, 7 Feb 2002, Drew Taylor wrote:

              > At 11:45 PM 2/6/2002 -0700, chromatic wrote:
              [snip]
              > managements edicts & timelines that forces the lack of tests. As for the
              > last point, I read somewhere (perhaps in one of Steve McConnell's books)
              > that a study found it takes magnitudes of more time/money to fix a bug
              > after the fact that to fix it before. And if it negatively affects a
              > customer, then multiply that cost by several factors for pissed off said
              > customer. If only management could be made to understand this fact...

              See attached.

              I once had to fly to seven or eight different countries over a period
              of several weeks to fix a $0.25 problem in a couple of hundred $22,000
              instruments because the guy in procurement had ignored my written
              procurement specification and the guy in test had ignored my written
              test secification. The problems only started to surface when the
              instruments were used in hot places.

              It still bugs me that I didn't send a bill to their employer, who was
              my supplier and contracted to make the things to the specification.

              It's called experience.

              73,
              Ged.


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Rob Nagler
              ... The first step is to make sure your interface has structure. If you are testing arbitrarily constructed templates, you re going to have a rough time. If
              Message 6 of 20 , Feb 8, 2002
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                > How do you do that? I've only heard of tools that allow you to create a
                > script and then playback that script. This is semiuseful, but what happens
                > if you make a change to the interface?

                The first step is to make sure your interface has structure. If you
                are testing arbitrarily constructed templates, you're going to have a
                rough time. If you build your HTML pages from widgets or
                parameterized templates, you'll have some structure to grab on to.

                > What tools/techniques have you used
                > in the past to do acceptance testing?

                The best tool is perl. We used it to test our CORBA based Web server,
                and we use it to test our application written in perl. It is not very
                hard to build an acceptance test suite using tools like LWP and
                HTMLParser.

                I am a little behind schedule. My goal is to release our internal
                infrastructure by the end of the month. It will come with a test
                suite which tests our pet shop demo (http://petshop.bivio.biz).

                > Do I have to setup a fake web server
                > environment & run the tests that way?

                I find for acceptance testing you need a test environment which is as
                close to your production environment as possible. Any of our
                developers can run the test suite on their personal Web servers.
                Every night we run the test suite against our test servers, which are
                relatively clean machines.

                > good. What I'm ultimately interested in learning is better design. Learning
                > patterns is one step, and working to see the problem from a higher level
                > view are two things I'm doing now.

                To me, there are two sides: analysis and synthesis. Patterns are
                about synthesis. XP is about analysis. I'm not a big fan of
                patterns, because they're very focused on classical object-oriented
                programming, and I try to program declaratively whenever I can. In
                addition, languages like Java, have some serious deficiencies such as
                weak ability to delegate and no class level inheritance.

                I find reading books about Lisp, functional programming, and logic
                programming expands my solution set much better than reading a book
                about design patterns.

                > OK. Why don't they just say that? :-) I know that at high levels it's
                > essential that we're all speaking the same language, but can't that
                > language be simpler?

                It is really hard to write cogent prose, which addresses a wide
                audience. They're just some concepts which are hard to explain in
                simpler language. I'm reading a book by Einstein which is incredibly
                well written but I have a really hard time understanding his
                discussions about the special theory and general theory of
                relativity. That's why I'm a programmer, I guess.

                > anyway. Besides, they're probably a little afraid of all the little bugs it
                > might turn up. ;-)
                >
                > Could this be a hidden reason some shops are wary of tests?

                I don't think so. In general, people have a hard time quantifying
                quality. If it works in the general case, it may be enough. The user
                base may be small. I really like Gerry Weinberg's comments on quality
                in his book "Quality Software Management: Vol. 1 Systems Thinking":

                The Quality Statement: Every statement about quality is a statement about some
                person(s).

                The Political Dilemma: More quality for one person may mean less
                quality for another.

                The Quality Decision: Whose opinion of quality is to count when making
                decisions?

                The Inadequate Definition of Quality: Quality is the absence of error.

                The Absence of Errors Fallacy: Though copious errors guarantees
                worthlessness, having zero errors guarantees nothing at all about the
                value of software.

                I highly recommend the book.

                Rob
              • Stas Bekman
                ... Since you are talking about testing apps against webserver, I d plug in the new Apache::Test framework which most Apache::* modules and frameworks
                Message 7 of 20 , Feb 21, 2002
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                  Rob Nagler wrote:

                  >>What tools/techniques have you used
                  >>in the past to do acceptance testing?
                  >>
                  >
                  > The best tool is perl. We used it to test our CORBA based Web server,
                  > and we use it to test our application written in perl. It is not very
                  > hard to build an acceptance test suite using tools like LWP and
                  > HTMLParser.
                  >
                  > I am a little behind schedule. My goal is to release our internal
                  > infrastructure by the end of the month. It will come with a test
                  > suite which tests our pet shop demo (http://petshop.bivio.biz).
                  >
                  >
                  >>Do I have to setup a fake web server
                  >>environment & run the tests that way?
                  >>
                  >
                  > I find for acceptance testing you need a test environment which is as
                  > close to your production environment as possible. Any of our
                  > developers can run the test suite on their personal Web servers.
                  > Every night we run the test suite against our test servers, which are
                  > relatively clean machines.

                  Since you are talking about testing apps against webserver, I'd plug in
                  the new Apache::Test framework which most Apache::* modules' and
                  frameworks' developers will find very helpful. The goal is to have every
                  Apache::* module needing mod_perl or just plain apache env, use
                  Apache::Test for its test. There is no more excuses for not having
                  tests. And if something is missing from its functionality now it's the
                  time to jump in and ask for it/add it.

                  httpd-test project is using this Perl framework for testing C modules
                  for Apache 1.3 and 2.0 and the server itself. And of course originally
                  it was developed for mod_perl 2.0. The same test suite can work with
                  httpd 1.3 and httpd 2.0. For more info see:
                  http://perl.apache.org/preview/modperl-site/docs/2.0/devel/testing/testing.html

                  Once we release the new modperl site (hopefully in a few weeks) this URL
                  will appear as:
                  http://perl.apache.org/docs/2.0/devel/testing/testing.html

                  I've started mentioning XP in this doc and mention reasons for a need to
                  test, but more work in needed so your help is very welcome.

                  To get the framework grab the httpd-test rep from cvs or the snapshot:
                  http://cvs.apache.org/snapshots/modperl-2.0/

                  also see:
                  http://cvs.apache.org/viewcvs.cgi/httpd-test/perl-framework/README?rev=1.8&content-type=text/vnd.viewcvs-markup

                  _____________________________________________________________________
                  Stas Bekman JAm_pH -- Just Another mod_perl Hacker
                  http://stason.org/ mod_perl Guide http://perl.apache.org/guide
                  mailto:stas@... http://ticketmaster.com http://apacheweek.com
                  http://singlesheaven.com http://perl.apache.org http://perlmonth.com/
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