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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

TDD doesn't have to be dogmatic

Published: 2023-03-06
Updated: 2023-03-06

Write your tests first! Or don’t! It doesn’t matter.

As long as you end up incrementally improving your understanding of the problem, and confidence in your solution (i.e. end up with reliable tests) it’s successfully test-driven!

That’s it. That’s the post.

If you’re curious, what I usually do looks something like this (using React as pseudocode):

  1. write out as many behaviours as I can think of in .skipped or .todo‘d tests:
describe('component', () => {
	it.skip('renders this by default');
  1. then sketch out a solution
function MyComponent({ ...props }) {
	return (
			<pre>{JSON.stringify(props, null, 2)}</pre>
  1. go back to the tests and fill them out one at at time …ish:
it('renders this by default', () => {
it('does all the other things');
  1. delete the sketched solution (optional)
  2. write a good implementation
function MyComponent() {
    const [i18n] = usei18n();
    return ();
  1. get feedback in a pull / merge request
  2. add more tests I inevitably missed
  3. rinse and repeat

But that’s not the right approach for every situation, and I change it up as necessary.

This post started as a conversation with a colleague about teaching TDD, and the obstacles that may come in the way; especially the dogmatic mindset / “strict TDD is the only TDD”.