Re: Timeless Classics of Software Engineering

From: rem642b_at_Yahoo.Com <(rem642b_at_Yahoo.Com)>
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 2004 22:40:35 -0700
Message-ID: <REM-2004aug10-005_at_Yahoo.Com>

> From: Bernd Paysan <>
> Unit tests: I think this is also related to refactoring. Traditional
> programming languages make it difficult to write tests along with the
> code, so people tend to just hack the code in and test the complete
> application. That's wrong.

I agree. That's one of the winning things about interactive languages such as LISP. When I write LISP code, I unit-test one line at a time as I write it. When I have finished all the lines of a function, I unit-test that function for each of the different kinds of situation it must deal with. I include all my unit-tests as comments just after the end of the function definition, so later if I need to change that function I can re-do all those old unit tests and any new unit tests to make sure the function still works after the modifications.

> The real hacker way to deal with customer requirements is to throw
> them into the bit bucket ...

An alternative is what might be called a "consumer-oriented hacker": The hacker inquires about the customer's real needs until he knows what tool the customer most urgently needs. Not a fullblown do-everything program, just one tool that does one kind of task and actually works. The hacker can typically make such a tool within a few hours or a couple days. Then while the consumer is beta-testing it, the hacker works on the next-most-urgent tool. So day after day the customer has yet another tool to handle yet another urgent problem. Are there any consumers interested in hiring me in this way? Received on Wed Aug 11 2004 - 07:40:35 CEST

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