Automated Unit tests in my life – beginning


This is an article of a software developer, who decided to share some knowledge and experience in automated unit tests. I think this one can help in everyday work of people like us.
This is not a pure technical article. It is a real story and comes to help producing better quality code. I will try to give some nice tips and show black and white sides of my automated unit tests experience.
About the name of an article … You might ask: Hey, man – isn’t it too much? You could name it “Unit Tests in my code, work, or etc – but “in my life”? You will find the answer on that question by reading this material, which consists of several parts. And here they are:
· How did it begin – how, when and why did I begin using automated unit tests
· My first experience – Good, bad, why do I need it
· The New style of work. How could Programming be like playing a game.
· Programming without automated unit tests and Test Driven Development – differences
· Self confidence in your work
· Automated unit test weakness and how to prevent them
· How can we mock without affecting the code

Part 1. How did it begin?
Before writing about automated unit tests technical details, I will write you about my experience with the automated unit tests… A little bit about my programmer history:
After graduating University in 1997 (Applied Mathematics), life took me to work as algorithms and software developer in some complicated big project with lots of mathematical calculations and logical stuff, where I earned lots of programmer skills. The project was one those, where all the developers had to make lots of tests (the situation where quality was more important than time). All the team tested all code by writing unit tests and integration tests. This is why the quality of my code was good. At the time I did not know anything about automated unit tests. All the tests were written manually…

So when the automatic unit tests came into my life? All began with my work in some software medical company. After about a year of my work in the company my boss suggested me to “try” write unit tests automatically, using “Nunit” and more then that – write tests before code (test driven development).
I was shocked and disappointed… First of my thoughts were:
”Why me? Is my code not good enough? I have a good testing experience with my working and testing style. Why should I change the way of working? More than that – why should I write the tests before code? And changes now – when I have so much work?” It felt like some entering to my privacy – way of programming, way of life, thinks I was used to… But as you can understand- I agreed, because am writing this one. After few hours of practicing I still did not understand why automated unit test and test driven it so good? In the next part you will see why first experience began to change my opinion…