tdd

Too many public methods forced by test-driven development


A very specific question from a novice to TDD:

I separate my tests and my application into different packages. Thus, most of my application methods have to be public for tests to access them. As I progress, it becomes obvious that some methods could become private, but if I make that change, the tests that access them won't work. Am I missing a step, or doing something wrong, or is this just one downfall of TDD?


Solution

  • This is not a downfall of TDD, but rather an approach to testing that believes you need to test every property and every method. In fact you should not care about private methods when testing because they should only exist to facilitate some public portion of the API.

    Never change something from private to public for testing purposes!

    You should be trying to verify only publicly visible behavior. The rest are implementation details and you specifically want to avoid testing those. TDD is meant to give you a set of tests that will allow you to easily change the implementation details without breaking the tests (changing behavior).

    Let’s say I have a type: MyClass and I want to test the DoStuff method. All I care about is that the DoStuff method does something meaningful and returns the expected results. It may call a hundred private methods to get to that point, but I don't care as the consumer of that method.