Unit Testing the Java Class Library

Latte Art Robot

Unit testing is a controversial topic in developer circles. Opinions range from Most Unit Testing is Waste to You are not allowed to write any production code unless it is to make a failing unit test pass.

For those on the pro-unit testing side, there are numerous benefits to the practice, especially the test-first variety. In my experience, writing unit tests does provide a net gain in productivity compares to programming practices that don’t use them. These are the benefits that I find especially useful:

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How to Make Your Job More Interesting

Self-Driving Car

Programming is creative work. Given a problem, you have to find a solution, then explain it to a computer in a way that humans can also understand. But unless you’re working on your own project, you don’t have total creative freedom. You have to use the tools and technologies that your team has selected, and your technical decisions are generally reviewed by other developers. On the other hand, it’s rare that you are told exactly how to solve the problem. If someone already knows that much about the solution, they could just implement it on their own. So it’s up to you to work out the details.

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Proving That You Can Juggle Code

Juggler

Peopleware is one of those books that show up on recommended reading lists for software development managers. Joel Spolsky was recommending it back in 2002. (It was written in 1987 and revised in 1999 and 2013). Chapter 16 (in the 3rd edition) begins with this vignette:

Circus Manager: How long have you been juggling?

Candidate: Oh, about six years.

Manager: Can you handle three balls, four balls, and five balls?

Candidate: Yes, yes, and yes.

Manager: Do you work with flaming objects?

Candidate: Sure.

Manager: …knives, axes, open cigar boxes, floppy hats?

Candidate: I can juggle anything.

Manager: Do you have a line of funny patter that goes with your juggling?

Candidate: It’s hilarious.

Manager: Well that sounds fine. I guess you’re hired.

Candidate: Umm… Don’t you want to see me juggle?

Manager: Gee, I never thought of that.

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