A new testing methodology?

I try and always program using test driven development, and just like I feel a little scared when I drive, even a short distance, without a seatbelt on - I now feel a little scared when I program without a full suite of automated unit tests to back me up. It's really a great way to program. Sometimes, when I get tired or uninspired with regards to programming, I'll look at my tests cases and make sure that I'm testing everything. And whenever I find a bug, the first thing I do is create a test case that show's the bug, and eventually, proves that the bug has been fixed.
I started noticing that I often did the same thing - I would create these little files for input and another for the expected output. Then the test program would take the input, create output in a temporary file and then compare that output with the expected output. I'd leave the temp output around in case it doesn't match.
Then one day I had to do some tests for xml2ddl. The tests I wanted to do is to take one XML input file compare it to another input XML file which would create a list of DDL (or SQL) statements to bring XML1 to XML2. So for every test I would have at least 3 files (two for input and one for output) plus the temp files. In fact it's worse since the DDL output can be different for each type of connectivity. I wasn't looking forward to it.
Then I came upon the great idea to put all three files into one XML file. Once I did this, I started seeing some extra things I can do with this method. I can hang off extra tidbits off the XML like:
  • a long description of what the test does,
  • an indicator that this test should fail,
  • or that a test shouldn't fail, but it does now,
  • or this is the response for this DMBS and here's the different response for another DBMS.
also you can decide to group several tests into one XML file instead of separate files, if the group of tests make more sense to be together, than apart.
An then I realized that I could output all the results of the tests into an HTML file. And now, this HTML file is not only a list of tests and whether they passed, but is a form of documentation. Just take a look at what dml2ddl outputs. It's fantastic! I've created documentation, a feature list and tested my code all in one stroke.
I think this is really a different way of testing. I'll call it the Kirkwood Testing Methodology (KTM).


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