Organization is Key to Development

I started out this morning looking at a the Test List Editor on a project I am working on. At the top were a bunch of broken tests with a few live tests. At the bottom were hundreds of live tests, but none were organized. There were 538 live tests and at least twice that many that no longer existed. Ouch!

Unit Test Organization

I am thankful someone pushed the idea of unit testing to the organization, but the lack of organization of the tests gives me pause. What if a developer only wants to run tests for a particular assembly? In the current setup, you have to organize the tests by project and then manually click each of the tests. This is a time consuming effort that has to be repeated each time you have to run the tests.

Fortunately, this nightmare can be solved in Visual Studio by simply placing tests into lists. You can then run the tests in isolation rather than running every single test in the entire suite. At minimum, I would focus the tests on area and break down so unit tests and integration tests (if any) are separated. Further separation may be needed to test specific functionality. Another possibility is starting with tests that run for a build and those that don’t. The important takeaway is you should organize your tests. Below is an extremely minimalist approach I took in a recent project.


In case the above seems a bit strange, I use a modified BDD style when testing. I say modified as I use the default MSTest bits and organize by behaviors. Why is a topic for another blog entry.

In short, if you are going to create tests (and you are, right?), you need to keep the tests organized. If you need an analogy, think of the test list editor like a library. Unless the books are ordered so you can find them, they are worthless. Every library needs a librarian, which brings me to the next topic.

Other Organization Needs

Another clear organization need in every development shop is a clean way of organizing documentation and other artifacts. One of the most popular tools for organizing content is SharePoint. And nearly everywhere I go I find something like this:


Pretty standard search and I find numerous items that have absolutely nothing to do with the topic I am searching for. In addition, I find multiple versions of the same document. The second issue can be cured, at least partially, by informing users how to open a document for editing and save back rather than save a new document with the same name each time, but you still need someone to keep up with the organization.


I guess the point of this post is anytime you have a library, you need a librarian. Without one, the “books” get moved all over the place until it is very hard, if not impossible, to find them.

Peace and Grace,

Twitter: @gbworld


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