[rspec-users] Is BDD with RSpec cheaper?

Anthony Broad-Crawford abroad-crawford at within3.com
Mon Jul 7 22:36:33 EDT 2008

Interesting statement that I have heard several times before, and it  
all boils down to how one measures cost.  If you measure the cost of  
an application only in the time it takes to write the first line of  
code to the last line of code for the first and only release, then  
yes, you could argue that removing the tests would technically make it  
cheaper.  However, I've never defined the cost of an application like  
that.  The reason being, the application spends more of its life cycle  
in subsequent releases (release 2 through release N).   That being  
said, the ROI on testing (behavioral or state based) becomes more  
apparent in future subsequent release as they take less time to move  
through the development life cycle.  This is primarily due to the  
design being better, as it is more conducive to change (testing  
usually produces this side effect IMO), and releases test quicker, as  
you have that rich suite of tests to support development and testing  
efforts.  Just my $0.02.

Anthony Broad-Crawford

On Jul 7, 2008, at 2:25 PM, yitzhakbg wrote:

> This might be a loaded question on this forum, but here goes:
> Just had a discussion with a prospective employer, a Ruby On Rails  
> shop. His
> reaction to BDD development on every project was skeptical, saying  
> something
> like: "It depends on the project". "Some jobs are so short that the  
> extra
> time invested in developing tests doesn't justify the cost".
> He was insistent that writing tests costs more. After all, you write  
> twice:
> first the tests, then the code (or the other way 'round).
> My question is: From hard, practical, cold real world experience, is  
> that
> so? Is BDD development more expensive? Let me qualify that. One could
> answer, "no, since the tests save you pain and heartache down the  
> line". The
> question is whether BDD coding with RSpec is more expensive in the
> implementation phase and how much truth there is in the statement  
> that BDD
> isn't for every project, like quick knock ups for example?
> -- 
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