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Managed Chaos
Naresh Jain's Random Thoughts on Software Development and Adventure Sports
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ProTest’s System Metaphor

On the ProTest project, we are using the Election as our System Metaphor to identify the key objects and their interactions. .i.e. to explain the logical design.

ProTest is a library to prioritize your tests such that you get fastest feedback by executing tests that are most likely to fail first. We use different strategies like a Dependency strategy which orders the tests based on dependencies of recently changed classes. If class ‘A’ was changed, then it makes sense to run all the tests that have a dependency on class ‘A’ first. We plan to have other strategies like Last failed test strategy which will order tests based on all the tests that failed in the last run, first. Others using cyclomatic complexity, test coverage and so on.

The Election Metaphor

All the tests that need to be executed are candidates standing for election (trying to get executed first). Each strategy is a voter, who votes the candidates. (We had to slightly change this metaphor. In our case, a voter can vote for multiple candidates.) Once all the voters cast their votes, we do a rank aggregation to determine the winners and hence come up with a prioritized list of tests. We plan to further enhance the metaphor to provide different weightages for each voter. Basically some voters are more powerful than the others.

Recently I was explaining the project to team from Bolivia and this metaphor really helped. I wonder if this metaphor would make sense to the Chinese. 😉

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