Testing Codes

Another notes after reading “Object-Oriented Design in Ruby”, regarding testing section.

Changeability is one important design metric, and appropriate testing code asissts them through performing refactoring or avoiding unexpected regression. But, too much testing code can increase costs to maintain or change the testing code itself. Therefore, “What should be tested” and “What should NOT be tested” needs to be carefully designed. But there’re not definitive answers for that, and it’s rather a design decision. In practice, most programmers tend to write too many tests.

The followings are some examples that should not be tested.

[Private Methods]
Tests should concentrate on the incoming or outgoing messages that cross an object’s boundaries. Test for private methods are redundant and unstable, which both increases the costs for maintenances.

[Query Methods]
Outgoing messages that just gets information from the receiver with no side-effect is called query methods, and should not be tested by the sending object. It’s part of the receiver’s public interface, and testing in both sides duplicates the testing codes.

In the book, MiniTest was used for showing examples. One example was to use Modules for sharing testing. “RSpec” seems to have similar concept through shared_examples statement as follows. It’s nice.

require 'rspec'

class Mechanic
  def prepare_trip
    "prepare bicycle..."

class Driver
  def prepare_trip
    "prepare vehicle..."

shared_examples_for "trip" do
  it "should respond to prepare_trip" do
    subject.should respond_to(:prepare_trip)
    subject.prepare_trip.should_not be_nil

describe 'Mechanic' do
  let(:mechanic) { Mechanic.new }
  include_examples "trip" do  # with parameter
    let(:subject) { mechanic }

describe 'Driver' do
  let(:subject) { Driver.new }
  include_examples "trip"  # without parameter

Posted on February 16, 2013, in Ruby. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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