Software QA FYI - SQAFYI

Why Unit Testing in Visual Studio Team System

By: Jason Anderson

My buddy James Newkirk (of NUnit fame) forwarded the following question to me from Ron Green:

Sender: Ron Green


It appears from what I am reading that Unit testing is included as part of VSTS only. I don't understand why this wouldn't be included with Visual Studio itself. Unit testing really has nothing to do with the size of the development group. Unit testing is unit testing whether it's a group of 30 or a single developer.

Can you shed some light on this?


First, thanks for the question Ron… I really appreciate you taking the time to write in and provide us with your feedback and insight.

Indeed, the current thinking is to offer the Unit Testing features in Visual Studio Team Developer and Visual Studio Team Tester which, as you correctly point out, are both parts of Visual Studio Team System. Today the placement of Unit Testing support in Team System is more a function of integration and less of a statement about team size.

Our view of testing revolves around the concept of Quality Assurance as a first class and productive member of the product lifecycle. To truly bring the entire value of Quality tools to our customer and to really provide the most value to the product lifecycle in general, we have to go beyond making great test tools. We have to make great test tools that are integrated with each other and integrated with other Team System tools that are fundamental parts of the product lifecycle family. For example, we see a lot of value with the integration of Unit Testing and Code Coverage. The shared scenario of being able to write and execute your Unit Tests integrated with the ability to examine Code Coverage data concerning the effectiveness of those Unit Tests is remarkable. Additionally, we see a huge value in the integration of Unit Testing with Load Testing. Adding Unit Tests with other tests types (such as Web Tests) to a Load scenario and turning the dials to make a custom load environment gives developers and testers an extreme amount of testing power.

I agree with you that Unit Testing has enough value to stand as a feature across all versions of Visual Studio. However, several of our tools in Team System fit into that category: Profiling, Static Analysis, etc. Our approach wasn’t really to ask, “Is this tool valuable enough to help all developers?”… We build most of our tools with that target in mind. Instead, we tried to ask the question, “Where can this tool provide the most value?” and in our current thinking the answer is along the lines of “as a feature integrated with the rest of the product lifecycle tools found in Team System.” Over time, we may revisit this decision, but for the 2005 version, we feel confident that this is the right choice.

Ron… thanks for the great question!

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Why Unit Testing in Visual Studio Team System