17 Oct 2005 titus   » (Journeyer)

socal-piggies, testing & twill

At our eighth meeting, I asked Grig for some advice on testing twill. (He recently reviewed twill on his blog, so I knew he was familiar with the issues.)

You see, I'd like to write unit tests for twill, but it's hard to think of exactly how to do it. twill is a testing tool, and because it interacts with real live Web sites it's hard to imagine how to thoroughly test it. I do have a simple Quixote application for testing twill's form handling capabilities, and with the most recent release of twill I am using code coverage analysis to ensure that I was testing all of the commands. Beyond that, I've had a tough time figuring out what to do.

Grig's advice was quite simple: build unit tests for those things that are unique to twill, and only those things. Since twill is built primarily on top of mechanize, ClientForm, and ClientCookie, he suggested that I avoid testing anything to actually do with HTTP and HTML handling because that's all contained in those packages. What I should test is logic surrounding those packages -- basically any logic unique to twill.

Duh. Yeah, it was pretty obvious once Grig said it ;).


I and pretty much everyone I talk to are unhappy with BioPython. I have my usual persnickety concerns to do with general coding style, oddball documentation, funky library APIs, and so on, but oddly enough many local people seem to agree with me this time.

I have several specific issues with BioPython. First, it's stuck back in the 1.6 / 2.0 dialect of Python, so the modules that I use most -- the NCBI interface -- don't make use of things like iterators. Very annoying. Next, it's also got some funky import stuff that doesn't interact well with Quixote. Finally, it inappropriately uses shorthand in the BLAST parser, so that you end up with BLAST output getting parsed into variables named 'sbjct' for some reason. Oh, and the EUtils interface is oddly written... and I think replacing the parsers they have in there with something based on pyparsing is maybe a good idea .

Mostly minor nits, I know, but the "bad code smell" is enough to make me think about starting a new project. Since the mailing list seems to have become a spam collector, and I don't see discussion anywhere else, I have been encouraged...

Anyway, we'll see. I'd like to combine some of the pygr coolness with some simple code from slippy and also motility. A couple local people are interested in joining in, so that's nice... The cool thing is that this would be a project actually directly connected to my research work, for once ;).


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