TDD Talking Point: TDD is more about API than Implementation

One of the points I tried to make in my talk about TDD yesterday is that TDD is more focused on the clarity and expressiveness of your code than on its actual implementation. I wanted to take a little time and expand on what I meant.

I used a Shopping Cart as an TDD sample. In the sample, the requirement is that as products are added to the shopping cart, the cart should contain a list or OrderDetails that are distinct by product sku. Here is the test I wrote for this case (this is commit #8 if you want to follow along):

[Test]
public void Details_AfterAddingSameProductTwice_ShouldDefragDetails()
{
    // Arrange: Declare any variables or set up any conditions
    //          required by your test.
    var cart = new Lib.ShoppingCart();
    var product = new Product() { Sku = "ABC", Description = "Test", Price = 1.99 };
    const int firstQuantity = 5;
    const int secondQuantity = 3;

    // Act:     Perform the activity under test.
    cart.AddToCart(product, firstQuantity);
    cart.AddToCart(product, secondQuantity);

    // Assert:  Verify that the activity under test had the
    //          expected results
    Assert.That(cart.Details.Count, Is.EqualTo(1));
    var detail = cart.Details.Single();
    var expectedQuantity = firstQuantity + secondQuantity;
    Assert.That(detail.Quantity, Is.EqualTo(expectedQuantity));
    Assert.That(detail.Product, Is.SameAs(product));
}

The naive implementation of AddToCart is currently as follows:

public void AddToCart(Product product, int quantity)
{
    this._details.Add(new OrderDetail()
                          {
                              Product = product, 
                              Quantity = quantity
                          });
}

 

This implementation of AddToCart fails the test case since it does not account for adding the same product sku twice. In order to get to the “Green” step, I made these changes:

public void AddToCart(Product product, int quantity)
{
    if (this.Details.Any(detail => detail.Product.Sku == product.Sku))
    {
        this.Details.First(detail => detail.Product.Sku == product.Sku).Quantity += quantity;           
    }
    else
    {
        this._details.Add(new OrderDetail()
        {
            Product = product,
            Quantity = quantity
        });                
    }

}

At this point, the test passes, but I think the above implementation is kind of ugly. Having the code in this kind of ugly state is still a value though because now I know I have solved the problem correctly. Let’s start by using Extract Condition on the conditional expression.

public void AddToCart(Product product, int quantity)
{
    var detail = this.Details.SingleOrDefault(d => d.Product.Sku == product.Sku);
    if (detail != null)
    {
        detail.Quantity += quantity;           
    }
    else
    {
        this._details.Add(new OrderDetail()
        {
            Product = product,
            Quantity = quantity
        });                
    }
}

The algorithm being used is becoming clearer.

  1. Determine if I have an OrderDetail matching the Product Sku.
  2. If I do, increment the quantity.
  3. If I do not, create a new OrderDetail matching the product sku and set it’s quantity.

It’s a pretty simple algorithm. Let’s do a little more refactoring. Let’s apply Extract Method to the lambda expression.

public void AddToCart(Product product, int quantity)
{
    var detail = GetProductDetail(product);
    if (detail != null)
    {
        detail.Quantity += quantity;           
    }
    else
    {
        this._details.Add(new OrderDetail()
        {
            Product = product,
            Quantity = quantity
        });                
    }
}

private OrderDetail GetProductDetail(Product product)
{
    return this.Details.SingleOrDefault(d => d.Product.Sku == product.Sku);
}

 

This reads still more clearly. This is also where I stopped in my talk. Note that it has not been necessary to make changes to the my test case because the changes I have made go to the private implementation of the class. I’d like to go a little further now and say that if I change the algorithm I can actually make this code even clearer. What if the algorithm was changed to:

  1. Find or Create an OrderDetail matching the product sku.
  2. Update the quantity.

In the first algorithm, I am taking different action with the quantity depending on whether or not the detail exists. In the new algorithm, I’m demoting the importance of whether the order detail already exists so that I can always take the same action with respect to the quantity. Here’s the naive implementation:

public void AddToCart(Product product, int quantity)
{
    OrderDetail detail;
    
    if (this.Details.Any(d => d.Product.Sku == product.Sku))
    {
        detail = this.Details.Single(d => d.Product.Sku == product.Sku); 
    }
    else
    {
        detail = new OrderDetail() { Product = product };
        this._details.Add(detail);
    }
    
    detail.Quantity += quantity;           
}

The naive implementation is a little clearer. Let’s apply some refactoring effort and see what happens.. Let’s apply Extract Method to the entire process of getting the order detail.

public void AddToCart(Product product, int quantity)
{
    var detail = GetDetail(product);

    detail.Quantity += quantity;
}

private OrderDetail GetDetail(Product product)
{
    OrderDetail detail;
    
    if (this.Details.Any(d => d.Product.Sku == product.Sku))
    {
        detail = this.Details.Single(d => d.Product.Sku == product.Sku); 
    }
    else
    {
        detail = new OrderDetail() { Product = product };
        this._details.Add(detail);
    }
    return detail;
}

This is starting to take shape. However, “GetDetail” does not really communicate that we may be creating a new detail instead of just returning an existing one. If we rename it to FindOrCreateOrderDetailForProduct, we may get that clarity.

public void AddToCart(Product product, int quantity)
{
    var detail = FindOrCreateDetailForProduct(product);

    detail.Quantity += quantity;
}

private OrderDetail FindOrCreateDetailForProduct(Product product)
{
    OrderDetail detail;
    
    if (this.Details.Any(d => d.Product.Sku == product.Sku))
    {
        detail = this.Details.Single(d => d.Product.Sku == product.Sku); 
    }
    else
    {
        detail = new OrderDetail() { Product = product };
        this._details.Add(detail);
    }
    return detail;
}

AddToCart() looks pretty good now. It’s easy to read, and each line communicates the intent of our code clearly. FindOrCreateDetailForProduct() on the other hand is less easy to read. I’m going to apply Extract Conditional to the if statement, and Extract Method to each side of the expression. Here is the result:

private OrderDetail FindOrCreateDetailForProduct(Product product)
{
    var detail = HasProductDetail(product) ? 
        FindDetailForProduct(product) : 
        CreateDetailForProduct(product);
    return detail;
}

private OrderDetail CreateDetailForProduct(Product product)
{
    var detail = new OrderDetail() { Product = product };
    this._details.Add(detail);
    return detail;
}

private OrderDetail FindDetailForProduct(Product product)
{
    var detail = this.Details.Single(d => d.Product.Sku == product.Sku);
    return detail;
}

private bool HasProductDetail(Product product)
{
    return this.Details.Any(d => d.Product.Sku == product.Sku);
}

Now I’ve noticed that HasProductDetail and FindDetailForProduct are only using the product sku. I’m going to change the signature of these methods to accept only the sku, and I’ll change the method names accordingly.

public void AddToCart(Product product, int quantity)
{
    var detail = FindOrCreateDetailForProduct(product);
    detail.Quantity += quantity;
}

private OrderDetail FindOrCreateDetailForProduct(Product product)
{
    var detail = HasDetailForProductSku(product.Sku) ? 
        FindDetailByProductSku(product.Sku) : 
        CreateDetailForProduct(product);
    return detail;
}

private OrderDetail CreateDetailForProduct(Product product)
{
    var detail = new OrderDetail() { Product = product };
    this._details.Add(detail);
    return detail;
}

private OrderDetail FindDetailByProductSku(string productSku)
{
    var detail = this.Details.Single(d => d.Product.Sku == productSku);
    return detail;
}

private bool HasDetailForProductSku(string productSku)
{
    return this.Details.Any(d => d.Product.Sku == productSku);
}

At this point, the AddToCart() method has gone through some pretty extensive refactoring. The basic algorithm has been changed, and the implementation of the new algorithm has been changed a lot. Now let me point something out: At no time during any of these changes did our test fail, and at no time during these changes did our test fail to express the intended behavior of the class. We made changes to every aspect of the implementation: We changed the order of the steps in the algorithm. We constantly added and renamed methods until we had very discrete well-named functions that stated explicitly what the code is doing. The unit test remained a valid expression of intended behavior despite all of these changes. This is what it means to say that a test is more about API than implementation. The unit-test should not depend on the implementation, nor does it necessarily imply a particular implementation.

Happy Coding!

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