Sunday, April 22, 2007

Test Driven Development & Visual Studio Team System

Recently, I was given an opportunity to give a presentation on TDD and how one may use VS2005 to accomplish this task. During the presentation I have used a standard Microsoft presentation on TDD and VSTS.
During my presentation I showed several examples on how to author: unit test, manual tests, load tests, web tests, database unit tests (stored procedures), and ordered tests. We have looked closer at: Test Manager, Code Coverage, Code Analysis and how these functionality integrates with TFS. The sample solution containing all the code can be found here.

My final thoughts on testing in VSTS:
1. Visual Studio Team System makes testing easy, great auto-generation tools allow one to generate all the plumbing without any hassle; it also provides a starting point for learning how to create tests.
2. With an exception on Windows Forms UI tests VSTS allows to generate tests that will cover all the aspects of the development and testing.
3. 100% Code Coverage does not mean that the application is bullet prove, it should be used in conjunction with Code Analysis to identify if we are comfortable the number of tests.
4. all written tests should be used in regression testing, once we start to modify existing code.
5. We have "white tests" written usually by developers that deal implementation and technology details; and "black tests" written by testers (QC/QA) that deal functional requirements of the application.

An interesting thought: From the tester's point of view we need to create a "time line". For example users does something in the system, system does something in response and based on the those results user does something else. For example user creates a task, task's work flow/state triggers additional email notifications that may provide user with additional information.

So what is the problem? The problem is that we are violating several rules: Unit Test must be simple and cover small portions of the functionality and all Unit Tests must be independent of each other. My current solution for this problem:
1. use multiple asserts in the test and
2. group relevant tests in Ordered Test.

Any thoughts on it?

Monday, April 9, 2007

ORM:1, Hand Coding:0

By definition I am lazy, I love using tools to reduce my workload. Object Relational Mapping (ORM) is one of those tools that I can not live without.

Several projects ago we decided that it would be better if we generate at least 85% of persistence layer automatically, but still would have control of how and when do we use ORM. NHibernate was our choice of the ORM (at time it was beta 0.8).

So why does ORM rule? Well, I would like to share a great story on how we were able to leverage NHibernate. On one of my current projects we are using NHibernate (1.03 beta) to generate the persistence layer for the use with Oracle 10G R2.
As we were reviewing and finalizing the requirements for purchasing production hardware and licenses, the client’s newly hired CIO, asked us: “why do we need to have both Oracle and SQL Server?” Of course we answered that: “we are using Oracle because it is your preferred choice of database to persist application data. SQL Server is a requirement for the BizTalk 2006, which we are using as a middleware server.”
The next question was: “What will it take to switch to SQL Server completely?” I should mention this conversation took place half way through our development effort. Our response was: “since we are using ORM to abstract the database from the application, it should only take 54 hours.”
Here is a list of tasks we had to do:
1. SQL Server Setup (Total Effort: 4 hours)
2. Database Conversion (Total Effort: 24 hours)
a) re-create 135+ tables from the Database Definition Language (DDL) scripts;
b) make unit conversion updates like: Change VARCHAR2 to VARCHAR, CLOB to VARCHAR(MAX), NUMBER to BIGINT, NUMBER (1) to BIT/BOOLEAN
c) update defaults, identities
d) update naming conventions
e) update DDL Script that generates triggers
f) update 5 stored procedures and functions
3. Code Updates (Total Effort: 10 hours)
a) Update the NHibernate XML Mapping files (82+)
b) Update the method that calls stored procedures
4. Regression Testing (Total Effort: 16 hours)

As soon as we got the green light from the CIO to go ahead and make the conversion, our DBA and Lead Developer spent one week-end making the conversion. It surprised me that our actual implementation time was 55 hours, and most of that was spent in data conversion (32 hours).

So on the following Monday, one of developers had a shocking experience. In the morning he was working on one of his features that required saving. Typically, he would open Toad to view the table he was saving to, in order to verify the results. According to him, he was getting pretty mad, because a simple save feature started to look like a nightmare. He would type the values on the form, click save, get no errors, go look for the results in Toad and see no changes in the table, sol he tries to reload the form/restart application/visual studio/computer and see that typed values are loading back, while still not showing in the database. How can you troubleshoot a problem like that?
Luckily, we have "Daily Stand Up Meetings," at which everyone gives updates on items they are currently working and have completed. So as the news of the database switch were announced, you could clearly hear swearing from the developer. Mel, feel free to add to the story.

In the end:
- listening to the boss on why we should be using ORM is 0.0001 man hours,
- choosing an ORM is 40 man hours,
- crash learning NHibernate is 80 man hours,
- getting comfortable with NHibernate is 160 man hours,
- switching database during the development without developers noticing is PRICELESS!