Thursday, May 25, 2006

Climbing without a Net

Developing test first is like rock climbing on lead.

When a climber climbs lead, they have to place protection as they go. At any point, if they fall, their last piece of protection generally keeps them from falling far. Sometimes, that protection will fail and when it does, the other protection they have placed keeps them from death or serious injury.

Each test written is like a piece of protection we have placed. Usually, the last test we wrote is the most important but all the tests together keep us from serious injury. Our tests really are our safety net and I can't understand why people choose to live without it.

If test first is lead climbing, then it goes to reason that the test first challenge is top roping and developing without tests is free climbing. Sure the best climbers can skate up easy climbs without protection but for the rest of us, that is the path to certain doom.

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