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The Key Principles of Continuous Delivery

In the seminal book Accelerate, Forsgren and her co-authors provide empirical evidence that Continuous Delivery has a positive impact on the performance of software development organisations. If organisations neglect some of the principles and practices of Continuous Delivery, their performance will suffer. They will reach the point where simple changes will take ages to implement. Not so with Continuous Delivery.

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Can We Use Trunk-Based Development for Legacy Software?

Not right away! Trunk-Based Development requires that the software builds and passes enough tests, before we integrate our changes into the main branch (a.k.a., trunk). We have enough tests, if breaking the software is highly unlikely. By definition, legacy code has no or not enough tests. Hence, we cannot apply trunk-based development right way, but should evolve our development process towards it.

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Applying TDD to Classes Accessing Files

We start with unit tests reading a file line by line with QFile. Unit tests accessing the file system are not considered unit tests, as they may be slow and may depend on each other in surprising ways (see A Set of Unit Testing Rules by Michael Feathers). In a first step, we encapsulate QFile in a class TextFile and provide a fake implementation representing the file as a list of strings kept in main memory. In a second step, we introduce an interface, from which the product and fake implementations derive. We can now apply TDD to classes accessing files.

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QTest: Data-Driven Unit Tests Are Hard To Understand

Today, I looked at the data-driven unit tests I had written nearly four weeks ago. It took me a couple of minutes to understand the tests again. Understanding my own tests should have been much easier.

Data-driven unit tests in QTest have a fundamental problem. The data goes in one function, say testWriteFrame_data, and the test case working on the data goes in another function, say testWriteFrame. I must go back and forth to understand the test case. While going back and forth, I typically forget one piece of information. So, I must do another round trip.

So, I sat down and converted each row of the table created by testWriteFrame_data into a test function of its own. The resulting test cases are much easier to understand. They have about the same code size as the original solution. But see for yourself.

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