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Checking for Common Testing pitfalls

saurav sarkar
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Posts: 180
Eclipse IDE Hibernate Java
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Hi All,

We have been trying to write an Eclipse based tool which automatically checks the JUnit code written based on PMD.

We already have some basic checks for JUNits given by PMD like test names, proper usage of asserts, etc.
We have also written some checks which checks the JUNits wiritten for our frameworks and also using Eclipse UIs.

I have been also thinking of checking proper usage of mocking using JMocks.
Also thinking about checking usage of patterns in writing JUnit code.

Would like to know more about and discuss about the common testing pitfalls in JUnits which have been seen .
Also would like to know about any feedback/comment on ours effort.

Junilu Lacar
Posts: 10060
Android Eclipse IDE IntelliJ IDE Java Linux Mac Scala Spring Ubuntu
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Just my opinion but I wouldn't do it that way. It seems like you're trying to answer the question "How do we test the tests?" To write more code to test the tests is a deep rat hole.

I rely on: pair programming, TDD, and code review. Since the tests essentially become your detailed design documentation and examples for usage of your application's APIs, then you should have people reviewing the tests for clarity and correctness. Ask these basic questions in the review or while doing pair programming/TDD:

1. Does the test name reveal its intent well? Does it give a good summary of what the test is for?
2. Is the test verifying the right thing? Is the test making the proper assertions
3. Is the test verifying the thing right? Are the inputs and setup reflective of the actual environment that the code being tested will be subjected to?

You should still use static code analysis and test coverage tools to give you a feel for where you have holes or areas of weakness in the code and tests but I would not put any more than a day's worth of effort to customize what these tools already do well.

In the end, your running application will be the ultimate verification of the completeness and correctness of your tests.
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