Four Reasons Unit Testing Needn’t Be That Time-Consuming

danbo switches
Credit: Pixabay / herryway

On my mind this week because I’m giving a workshop and a talk on unit testing UI code on iOS.

Tests as Documentation. You think you remember what you did and why… but you don’t.

Replace debugging. I almost never use the debugger. If something isn’t working as expected, I just start writing tests and figuring out what is going on. When the bug is fixed, and I’m berating myself for being stupid enough to write it in the first place, or not figure it out sooner, I also have a bunch of tests to show for the time I spent.

Low energy. Seriously there is no 10x engineer, and none of us function at 100% all of the time. I used to rationalise that I should stop work before I start breaking things. But now when I know I’m not going to be effective at creating I test instead. Maybe I’ll write the thing tomorrow morning, but this afternoon I stub the method and write the tests for it.

No perfection in testing. I’ve mainly seen “we should do it this way it would be better, but that requires us to refactor all the things” argued in places with poor test coverage. I think the point is, do you write a test at all? If a test is stupid, it will take seconds to write and you’ll never need to worry about it again. There is no need to worry about the size of your test binary. Speed, yes, but that is far more determined by integration tests than unit tests.


If you want to improve testing of your iOS apps, I have put together a digital workshop.