TDD experiment - The Setup.

There’s no better moment than a quiet weekend for a small side-project to begin. This time, the focus was not on the code itself, but on a small experiment. This post describes the experiment’s first phase, the setup.

I’ve been supposedly doing some TDD, but a friend suggested completing a project using proper, dogmatic, hardcore TDD, just to see how it goes. That means no cutting corners, no cheating with writing a method or two and testing later, and absolutely no early refactors.

I decided to use Uncle Bob’s rules verbatim:

- You are not allowed to write any production code unless it is to make a failing unit test pass.

- You are not allowed to write any more of a unit test than is sufficient to fail; and compilation failures are failures.

- You are not allowed to write any more production code than is sufficient to pass the one failing unit test.

And so, the 2020 TDD experiment has begun. This is the first post, where the experiment is set up.

In a next post, I’ll release the project (a CLI app, nothing groundbreaking), and gather some feedback, while later I will hopefully write down my experience and observations. I don’t believe in panaceas and silver bullets, but spending time with a tool in deliberate practice is in my opinion the best way to improve one’s craft.

So, for this project, which is going to be a small-ish CLI application, all commits will strictly correspond to TDD steps.

Unfortunately, I don’t have one of Uncle Bob’s TDD hats

so settled for the next best thing

function red(){ git add --all && git commit -m ":x: $1" }
function green(){ git add --all && git commit -m ":white_check_mark: $1" }
function refactor(){ git add --all && git commit -m ":cyclone: $1" }

My commits now look like this, so I can keep track of what step I’m currently in and what I should do next.

After a couple of days, I can admit it’s hard to keep up (for now) and I’m continuously switching between
a) jesus, I’m wasting so much time, wth
b) okay, that came out nice

But I’ll reserve judgement until I get the code to a more advanced state where TDD will be either a bigger hindrance or a bigger aid.

Written on February 11, 2020