Darth Reed

Now that I have a place to put my quasi-technical babble over at MSDN, the space is reserved for me to spew my political bile and enjoy all things sci-fi. Heh.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Test-Driven BizTalk

The great equalizer, TDD is. The stronger your unit testing skills are, the more powerful you will be. You will be. Heh.

If you've been living under a development rock in VB6 or hiding inside an IBM mainframe cave, here's the short version of test-driven development (TDD): write your tests before you write your code. It’s sometimes thought to be the same as its cousin test-first development (TFD). [See TDD = TFD + refactoring.] The purpose of TDD is to improve quality and to improve resistance of the solution to regression errors by wrapping *everything* in unit tests from as many different angles as possible (success and failure). TDD is arguably the core of most agile methodologies, like Extreme Programming (XP). Use it when you want/need to interpose insurance against expected high levels of change and churn between yourself and "the customer(s)." And when wouldn't you want to do that?

OK, so you get it. You test first. You ask questions later. And then you're assigned to a BizTalk project. So what? Well, it's a little harder to wrap NUnit around BizTalk than a simple .NET assembly. But you've got to start somewhere, right? Here's where you start: MSDN Webcast: Test-Driven Development with BizTalk Server 2004 (Level 200).

Now this webcast isn't a heavy-duty, nothin' but code, level 400 course, but it's a decent start and a decent introduction to TDD. You'll have to register to watch the webcast, but that's a small price to pay (since BillG already knows who you are and all about you anyway). You can either install the LiveMeeting replay ActiveX control and watch it streamed or download the WMV (it's ~8.15MB) and view it offline later. What better use could you have for an hour of your time? (Besides web comics and hacking the company firewall for fun and profit, I mean. Ha-ha!)

Seek the green lights, padawan, for in them your salvation from regression errors will be...

Strike now!

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