Archive for January, 2008


Friday, January 18th, 2008

James Coplien wrote about something like “TDD is a cult”. The whole post manages to speak ill about TDD, without giving any concrete reason why TDD is bad. I agree with other parts of the talk, like the terrible decline in the quality of technical education in University (none of my young collegues knows about regular expressions, much less about finite-state automata; what kind of CS degree is that?!?). Other parts of the post look cloudy and misinformed; how can Coplien say that he is “packaging my learnings about TDD from the past 20 years” when the concept is barely 8 years old?

Sure, people have been doing automated tests for far longer than that, but the idea that you can build a whole system using the tests as a design guide is certainly original. The fact that it can actually work is surprising, yet in my limited experience it can.

TDD deteriorates the architecture, says Coplien. Clearly he has not read about the refactoring part? If you’re not actively improving the architecture you’re not doing TDD. So what is the point? That if you don’t know the technique you won’t get good results? Thanks a lot, I didn’t need Coplien to know this. I never said TDD is easy, but you can learn it, and it’s an amazingly effective way to get a good architecture. What is the risk here? That ordinary programmers will learn how to do architecture effectively? That would leave people like Coplien without a job :-) Gasp! Maybe that would force people like him to write programs again! The horror!