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May 2007 Archives

May 15, 2007  –  ACCU Presentation

Tomorrow night, I will be giving a talk at the Association of C and C++ Users in Silicon Valley entitled, "To Catch a Bug, You have to Think Like a Bug". This is a new and improved version of a talk I gave at SD West, so if you didn't get to go there, you get another opportunity to check it out. I hope to see some Agitator's there. You can find out more of the details at the ACCU's website.

May  8, 2007  –  Fast Start at JavaOne

Agitar boothThis picture was just about the last quiet moment before they opened the exhibition hall doors. Shortly after that the horde decended and at the booth we've been just shockingly busy.

I'm encouraged by the number of people who are interested in unit testing and want to hear our pitch. We've been handing out JUnitFactory business cards like candy -- the ability to generate dashboards is a killer new feature -- and the printed copies of The Way of Testivus are popular as well. (I'm still waiting to see someone put on our karma > dogma t-shirts. Maybe tomorrow..)

I've been mostly busy occupied describing AgitarOne to people but in between I've managed to catch up a bit with Paul Hammant (who is pleased I finally have the include.projects working so he can Branch by Abstraction) and Andy Glover (who is threatening to join us in Belgium). Andy introduced me to prolific traveling speaker Neal Ford, who must enjoy being on the road far more than I do. I got within handshaking distance of ASM author humble committer Eugene Kuleshov but was too busy talking with someone in the booth to do more than exchange greetings.

Looking foward to my next break and the opportunity for some longer conversations...

May  7, 2007  –  JavaOne 2007!

I am going to be attending sessions at JavaOne this week, and would be happy to meet with any Agitators or testing enthusiasts at the conference, according to Sun's Event Connect tool, I can paste this code and you can link to me in their event tool to set up a meeting.

Join Me at the 2007 JavaOne Conference Event Connect Tool!

I also set up a topic proposal for the JavaCamp, unconference that is happening Tuesday and Wednesday nights, on Adding JUnit to the Java Platform.

Here's the blurb for anyone interested:

Many language platforms, like Ruby and Microsoft .NET ship with a unit testing framework as part of the platform. Why not include JUnit in the Java Platform, or at least include it in the JDK? Code quality is a constant sore spot for commercial applications, so it seems like making the tools that contribute to higher quality more widely available will encourage better code. While we're at it, lets put in a code coverage tool as well, so we can see how well we're testing. We already have some profiling and management tools built in, so this seems like a missing piece of the puzzle.

I'd like to discuss this idea, and concerns around improving code quality with developer testing in general.
 –  Scorecard for Bowling Scorer

JUnit Factory has a new feature - project dashboards - and I thought I'd try it out on my bowling code.

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 –  At JavaOne This Week

Reading John's post reminded me that I should let people know I'll be at JavaOne this week on booth duty for Agitar. My favorite parts of these events are all the side conversations so if you want to talk about CruiseControl, CITCON, developer-testers/tester-developers, OIF, how to run an open spaces conference, JUF, adopting developer testing, introducing change in general (I'm looking for material for my 'Tic-Tac' session with Alistair Cockburn at Agile 2007), or The Way of Testivus (PDF) stop by the booth or send me an email and we can set up some time to talk. (Following Bret's session I'm really interested in hearing from people who have had good experiences using RSpec on a Java project.) See you there...

May  4, 2007  –  Open space conference format Rocks This weekend I had attended the first open space format conference CITCON. Before attending CITCON this year, I was little unsure about the format of the conference. Now I am totally convinced that this is the way to do lots of conference. It was invigorating experience to be meeting so many of my peers in the business and also surrounded by lots of thought leaders in the field of continuous integration and testing and share their experiences. more >>
 –  How much test coverage do you need? - The Testivus Answer

Referring to "The Way of Testivus" entry:


Morgan Conrad asked: "What is Testivus' wisdom concerning the proper percentage of test coverage?"

Here you go Morgan:

Testivus On Test Coverage

Early one morning, a programmer asked the great master:

“I am ready to write some unit tests. What code coverage should I aim for?”

The great master replied:

“Don’t worry about coverage, just write some good tests.”

The programmer smiled, bowed, and left.


Later that day, a second programmer asked the same question.

The great master pointed at a pot of boiling water and said:

“How many grains of rice should put in that pot?”

The programmer, looking puzzled, replied:

“How can I possibly tell you? It depends on how many people you need to feed, how hungry they are, what other food you are serving, how much rice you have available, and so on.”

“Exactly,” said the great master.

The second programmer smiled, bowed, and left.


Toward the end of the day, a third programmer came and asked the same question about code coverage.

“Eighty percent and no less!” Replied the master in a stern voice, pounding his fist on the table.

The third programmer smiled, bowed, and left.


After this last reply, a young apprentice approached the great master:

“Great master, today I overheard you answer the same question about code coverage with three different answers. Why?”

The great master stood up from his chair:

“Come get some fresh tea with me and let’s talk about it.”

After they filled their cups with smoking hot green tea, the great master began to answer:

“The first programmer is new and just getting started with testing. Right now he has a lot of code and no tests. He has a long way to go; focusing on code coverage at this time would be depressing and quite useless. He’s better off just getting used to writing and running some tests. He can worry about coverage later.”

“The second programmer, on the other hand, is quite experience both at programming and testing. When I replied by asking her how many grains of rice I should put in a pot, I helped her realize that the amount of testing necessary depends on a number of factors, and she knows those factors better than I do – it’s her code after all. There is no single, simple, answer, and she’s smart enough to handle the truth and work with that.”

“I see,” said the young apprentice, “but if there is no single simple answer, then why did you answer the third programmer ‘Eighty percent and no less’?”

The great master laughed so hard and loud that his belly, evidence that he drank more than just green tea, flopped up and down.

“The third programmer wants only simple answers – even when there are no simple answers … and then does not follow them anyway.”

The young apprentice and the grizzled great master finished drinking their tea in contemplative silence.

May  2, 2007  –  The Way of Testivus
The Way of Testivus
Less unit testing dogma. More unit testing karma.

Translated by Alberto Savoia

Translator’s Introduction

In May 2006, an ill-prepared international expedition to the Himalayas lost its way. After two weeks of wondering around, hungry, thirsty, and smelling like inexperienced expeditioners who got lost for two weeks, they stumbled upon the entrance to an ancient cave.

Once inside, they saw a maze of ancient, and messy, cubicles. Each cubicle had a wooden desk, an ergonomically correct bamboo chair, a Dilbert™ calendar, and a strange computer-like mechanical device. In one corner of the office they found barrels of dark liquid which they later identified as early examples of carbonated and highly caffeinated drink and a ping-pong table. They realized that the cave was an ancient software start-up. The oldest one on record. Older even than Netscape.

Among the many things they discovered inside the cave was a note left by one of the programmers. The expedition’s guide, while not very good at guiding, knew how to read the ancient language and translated the note for them:

We have finished the release ahead of schedule – again. All the tests pass, so we are taking the rest of the week off. We are going sailing. Since it’s a team building exercise, we hope we can get reimbursed for it.

The explorers looked at each other in astonishment. Not only had they discovered the oldest software start-up in history, they had also discovered a team of programmers who, apparently, completed their code ahead of schedule ... on a regular basis!

What was the secret of these ancient programmers?

And what had happened to them?

The expeditioners searched each cubicle for clues and found two mysterious booklets. One of them was called "Learn To Sail In 30 Minutes”, which explained the fate of the programmers. You are holding in your hands a translation of the other booklet: “The Way of Testivus”.

Who wrote this mysterious booklet? What is Testivus? Only Google™ knows for sure.

Is the content of this text responsible for these ancient programmers being able to complete projects ahead of schedule?

We can’t be sure, but we believe that the amazing prowess of these programmers was probably due to a combination of the Testivus philosophy, and the consumption of large amounts of the dark caffeinated liquid found in the cave.

Read the booklet and draw your own conclusions.

Alberto Savoia, April 2007, Mountain View, Ca

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