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Archive for the ‘Agile’ Category

Recently I’ve been tinkering with Clocktwerk, a very small personal project. It got me thinking about personal projects in general. Like most developers, I enjoy creating software away from the day job from time to time, and what I look for in these little hobby projects is:

  1. something that seems like fun
  2. the chance to create software that will be useful, even if only to me
  3. the opportunity to learn something – a new tool, framework, API or technique

Over the years, I found that some of the projects I started were fruitful, whereas others fell by the wayside, doomed to an eternal state of half-finished nothingness.

Unfinished

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I’m currently reading the excellent Growing Object-Oriented Software, Guided by Tests. Although I have read less than half of it so far, this book has already changed the way I think about Test-Driven Development. It covers a broad range of TDD topics and their intersection with OO, but for now I want to focus on a very small part of this landscape – the naming of unit tests.

Names are important. Class names, method names, variable names – good names inform us, bad names mislead. I’m sure we all know that naming stuff can be tricky.¬†However, a little discipline in choosing names can go a long way to improving the quality of unit tests.

Consider a tiny class I wrote recently while performing the leap year kata:

public class Year {

    public Year(int year) {
        // constructor type stuff
    }

    public boolean isLeapYear() {
        // code to check for leap year
    }
}

I could have made isLeapYear() static, and in fact I have done so in previous attempts. But it isn’t the design choices of the interface to Year that I want to discuss.

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