Automated Test Running

A neat little Eclipse plugin I’m playing with at the moment is the Continuous Testing Plugin for Eclipse The basic purpose of this plugin is to run your tests (or a selected subset) as part of the build cycle in Eclipse.

This is having some interesting behaviour for me. Firstly, I’m not having to manually push the button. I just save, and Eclipse tells me if the tests break. Test failures show up as problems (the same way compile errors do), which means that they become very visible for me. I’m also strongly motivated to keep (at least a subset!) of tests really fast, which is a Good Thing(tm).

The feedback loop is being kept really really tight. I try something, save it, see if it works, move on. It also makes it easy to see what isn’t tested: if you’re changing something and a test doesn’t break, then it wasn’t tested. 🙂

It’s also smart enough to be able to re-order how tests are run. In particular, it can prioritise most recently failing tests, most frequently failing tests, or the fastest running tests (for quick feedback). I’ve got it set on the first setting.

While I wouldn’t want to use this on a slow computer, it seems okay on my home PC. About the only real quirk is that the current version outputs stuff to the Console, so you have to turn off the “auto-switch to console” setting (Window -> Preferences -> Run/Debug -> Console, then the two “Show when program writes…” check boxes).

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Author: Robert Watkins

My name is Robert Watkins. I am a software developer and have been for over 18 years now. I currently work for people, but my opinions here are in no way endorsed by them (which is cool; their opinions aren’t endorsed by me either). My main professional interests are in Java development, using Agile methods, with a historical focus on building web based applications. I’m also a Mac-fan and love my iPhone, which I’m currently learning how to code for. I live and work in Brisbane, Australia, but I grew up in the Northern Territory, and still find Brisbane too cold (after 16 years here). I’m married, with two children and one cat. My politics are socialist in tendency, my religious affiliation is atheist (aka “none of the above”), my attitude is condescending and my moral standing is lying down.

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