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Test-Driven Development from a Conventional Software Testing Perspective, Part 1

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Jonathan Kohl, a conventional software tester, set out to learn the process of test-driven development (TDD), pairing with a TDD expert to work on an application. Was it difficult? Sometimes. He shares his challenges and lessons learned in part 1 of a three-part series.
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Learning About TDD

If you’re a professional software tester, or you work in quality assurance, I consider you to be (like me) a "conventional software tester." Conventional software testers are often asked for opinions and expertise on a myriad of testing-related questions. One new area of thought in software development is test-driven development (TDD). Because it contains the word test, TDD is a topic on which conventional software testers are increasingly asked to weigh in. But since TDD is a programmer-testing activity, conventional software testers often find that they’re inadequately prepared to deal with TDD.

As a curious software tester, I wanted to learn more about test-driven development first-hand. I began learning about TDD through my typical process of inquiry:

  1. Read literature about the subject to gain an overall understanding.
  2. Explore by working closely with practitioners to gain more comprehension.
  3. Immerse myself in the subject by learning from an expert and through practicing on my own.
  4. Spend time reflecting on my experiences.

This series of articles describes some highlights from this process. In this article, I share my experience learning test-driven development from an expert programmer. In part 2, I share my experience, applying what I learned by practicing test-driven development myself. In part 3, I share some of my reflective thoughts on what I learned.

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