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Kent Beck on the limits of TDD

Tue 03 June 2014
By Harry

For anyone that's been following the DHH / #isTDDDead controversy, or for anyone interested in what the limits of TDD are. Kent Beck (the godfather) had some really good reflections on what he was hoping to learn from the discussions:

I'm puzzled by the limits of TDD--it works so well for algorithm-y, data-structure-y code. I love the feeling of confidence I get when I use TDD. I love the sense that I have a series of achievable steps in front of me--can't imagine the implementation? no problem, you can always write a test. I recognize that TDD loses value as tests take longer to run, as the number of possible faults per test failure increases, as tests become coupled to the implementation, and as tests lose fidelity with the production environment. How far out can TDD be pushed? Are there special cases where TDD works surprisingly well? Poorly? At what point is the cure worse than the disease? How can answers to any and all of these questions be communicated effectively?

Read the full post on his facebook, and follow the next episode of #isTDDDead


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A selection of links and videos about TDD, not necessarily all mine, eg this tutorial at PyCon 2013, how to motivate coworkers to write unit tests, thoughts on Django's test tools, London-style TDD and more.

Old TDD / Django Tutorial

This is my old TDD tutorial, which follows along with the official Django tutorial, but with full TDD. It badly needs updating. Read the book instead!

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