Track: MASTER: (Pride in the Craft)

Duration: 45 minute talk

Talk Level: Intermediate


A discussion around the value of different types of automated tests, and why we shouldn’t start with fine-grained unit tests

Among developers there is a tendency to test and build systems from the inside-out, by writing fine-grained automated checks, often called unit tests. However fine-grained automated checks have limited value, and can become problematic at later stages of the system life cycle.

I believe that much coarser-grained automated checks – often called system tests – which cover more code, are far more valuable and useful, and should be created first in any development effort. In this talk I compare automated checks of various types and levels, and by using a toy problem show that any development effort should prefer coarse-grained checks over fine-grained checks, and should often not include fine-grained automated checks.

The talk is aimed at software developers and testers, and will also be of interest to business analysts, product owners and scrum masters/agile coaches.

Bio of Joshua Lewis:

Joshua LewisJoshua Lewis has an MEng from Wits and has worked in the software development industry for a decade – gosh that makes him sound old! His experience is mostly as a software developer, though he now works as a (software) Developer Coach at DStv Digital Media. He also lectures post-grads and CPD students part-time at Wits.