[rspec-users] Assumption tests

David Chelimsky dchelimsky at gmail.com
Sat Oct 20 12:34:50 EDT 2007

On 10/20/07, Pat Maddox <pergesu at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 10/19/07, Scott Taylor <mailing_lists at railsnewbie.com> wrote:
> > Following up on the last idea: One thing that I don't think is yet
> > widely understood is that there is no such thing as a "unit" or
> > "integration" test - test happen on a continuum (the classification
> > of a test is not a black and white sort of thing).  Your "assumption
> > tests" are basically model-level integration tests, which are not as
> > fine grained as the normal spec (which would mock/stub out AR::Base,
> > associations, validations (with load...), etc).
> While vocabulary is important, particularly shared vocab, it's even
> more important not to get too hung up on it.  I've read plenty of
> sources that say a unit test only touches one class, and if you're
> interacting with more than one class then it's an integration test.
> That's a silly distinction to make - as you point out, there's no
> clear definition of what a unit test is.  You should be comfortable
> working at the appropriate level of granularity, whether it's writing
> a spec for one small method in a given context, or for a couple
> collaborating objects.
> Also, I probably wouldn't go up to Kent Beck and say, "your book was
> nice and all, but I wish you would have admitted that you were writing
> INTEGRATION tests instead of unit tests." :)
> I think it becomes too easy to use process or arbitrary constraints as
> a crutch, instead of simple careful thought.  If you find yourself
> doing strange or painful things in order to make them fit some
> definition, then you're doing yourself a disservice and need to step
> back and evaluate your goals.

Agreed. This is exactly why we talk about stories and specs instead of
integration and units. I realize that I've slung the term integration
tests around when talking about about stories so I apologize if I've
added to the confusion.

The distinction we make between stories and specs is that stories
describe how a system behaves in terms of a user's experience, whereas
specs describe how an object behaves in terms of another object's


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