Unit Testing / An Apology
Unit testing is a process that development teams use to improve code quality and reduce maintenance costs. By having a safety net of reuable automated tests readily available, changes to code can be easily verified to make sure that they don't have unintended consequences.
Many teams fail to start unit testing because it can be difficult to start once an application has already started to mature. Taking an existing legacy code base and retrofitting to receive the benefits of unit testing is frequently a big enough task to dissuade development teams.
Over a year ago I was introduced to Pex - a great toolset from Microsoft Research that allows teams to relatively easily generate a comprehensive suite of unit tests for existing code. Pex is now available for MSDN subscribers and for academic use. In addition, that same team at Microsoft Research has subsequently introduced Moles, an isolation framework that can be used with Pex or separately to support unit test development independently of Pex. (In many ways I find Moles more exciting than Pex itself. This is a great isolation framework that is beneficial to unit test newcomers and experts alike.)
So what does this have to do with an apology?
I had scheduled a Visual Studio ALM User Group (formerly the Team System User Group) meeting for yesterday. Nikolai Tillman of Microsoft Research was going to present Pex and Moles to our live online attendees. I generally am online to open the meeting well in advance and to take care of any problems that may arise. This time I was blocked and didn't even make my own meeting. I can't take responsibility for some things (like traffic) but I can for not having someone standing by to help out in my potential absense. Paul Hacker has helped me out on this in the past but I didn't expect any problems and thus didn't coordinate with him.
So... For all the people that tried to attend Nikolai's presentation, I appologize for not doing a better job of making sure the meeting would occur as promised.
And especially for Nikolai, who took time from his schedule to educate our audience but was met with a broken LiveMeeting link and nobody on my side to remedy the situation, I am truly sorry.
Hopefully everyone involved will forgive. I hope to 'see' you at next month's meeting. And perhaps someday Nikolai or one of his peers at Microsoft Research will be willing to give us another shot.