Tim Hordern

I ♥ building amazing products and teams. QA + Product + DevOps + Fast = Awesome.

Being a Code Craftsman

If you don’t believe in writing tests, you don’t believe in building quality products.

If you don’t believe in automated tests, you don’t believe in the power of computers.

If you don’t believe these two things, stop calling yourself a craftsman. A craftsman cares relentlessly about the quality of their product, the quality of the experience, the value of their users.

A code craftsperson believes that they are building quality software products, and that computers are powerful tools that can be harnessed to perform repeated tasks, such as repeated quality validation. Same as the mechanical engineer who pours lubricant on the racecar engine once again, or the chef who sharpens their knives even though they’ve done it a thousand times before, a good craftsman knows that a truly great product only comes sweating every detail relentlessly, and they understand that a computer does this much, much faster and more effectively than human eyeballs. They know the value of automated testing, and they know the value of exploratory testing. They use both, and they trust the opinion of their testers, because that’s what great teams do.

Building great products means writing tests. It means having automated tests. Don’t believe me? Then don’t call yourself a code craftsman.

Sidenote: it’s sometimes perfectly okay to not write tests. Or not to use automated testing. A technical spike or a hack project are great cases where it’s better to prioritise developing the idea. But you’d never put that out into the real world. Quality is not about broken products. If you know that your idea is worth pursuing, then solve that idea completely for your users and build real-world automated tests.

Side-sidenote: remember, if you’re working at scale (eg. serving millions/hundreds of millions/billions of requests a day), then the one-in-a-million edge case (the one that you don’t bother testing for) happens every single day. Up to thousands of times a day. Thousands of your users are seeing that problem every day.