November 15th, 2009

Testing Times

Sometimes I need to shake things up to get a better perspective on things. The experiment with having a day a week where I don’t expect to get anything done is working well, and by the end of the day “off” I have lots of ideas bubbling around in my head.

One of the things I have been worrying about at work is getting some old code tested properly, or at least having a plan for getting it all tested one day. Although I hate to admit it, I haven’t really written much test code in years, so I don’t have the mental “muscle memory” to help me figure out. There are books to help with dealing with Perl code (Perl Medic, and Perl Testing to mention but two), but for the time being I decided to abandon Perl and vim to have a go at learning emacs (again) and to see if I could use rspec to test a simple module, and then look at how to do testing using Perl’s tools. So far so good, there’s a lot of new stuff to learn, and it’s fun to have my mind in learning mode again. It’s good to get away from my old environment for a while – if or when I get back maybe I’ll have remembered how to forget a few of my inappropriate and outdated old Perl habits. By taking on new things I sometimes get a different perspective on the problem I’m trying to solve, and a clearer distinction between the techniques I’m learning and the tools I’m using.

Some new things I enocuntered were the emacs starter kit and gemcutter which have made it easier for me to get into using emacs and rspec to see whether I enjoy them.

Speaking of tests, we have found out why our cat was drinking so much water of late. She is diabetic. The thing I have to learn to do now is to give her her shots so my wife isn’t stuck doing it for ever.

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