The Pyramid community taught me the importance of test driven development

Sontek’s patch: 72561a213ccc456738582551e85fab0f0c8d09ab

I greeted the UPS man in the middle of the street to sign for my new Lenovo ThinkPad T430. Because this was My first brand-new laptop purchase I rationalized the time I spent tracking the package from the factory in China to my hands in Connecticut. Once inside, I opened the box and started installing Fedora 17. I couldn’t help but to take in the new-electronics smell.

I’ve been without a laptop for more than a month so I was eager to get my development environment configured. Most of my tools ship with vanilla Linux, vim, python, hg mercurial, chromium browser, etc. My first goal was to get a development copy of running locally. This took about 5 minutes and it seemed to be working fine until I noticed a few pages had errors. The errors seemed to be caused by a difference between Pyramid 1.3 and 1.4a1. But what was failing?

I posted a short message in #pyramid about the bug and minutes later I had multiple developers prodding for hints. “Could you post the whole traceback?”, “What does your view look like?”. I answered quickly and attempted to explain what I thought was going on. Turns out I was close but before I could finish explaining the problem, sontek had a working one-character-fix and was in the process finishing the tests to prove the patch. He also explained what I should do in the interim to patch locally.

In the next 4 hours a pull request was submitted to the upstream master and the patch was peer reviewed, accepted, and integrate by mcdonc. That impressed me, a lot. All Pylon Projects have strict policies about test coverage and now I understand why. Tests not only help produce better bug-free software but also act as a powerful tool when proving the validity of a patch. I plan to devote the next couple weeks to making test-driven-development a habit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *