Development processes, the use of version control, and unit-testing

Posted by ct01 on Programmers See other posts from Programmers or by ct01
Published on 2012-04-06T15:04:09Z Indexed on 2012/04/06 17:41 UTC
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Preface

I've worked at quite a few "flat" organizations in my time. Most of the version control policy/process has been "only commit after it's been tested". We were constantly committing at each place to "trunk" (cvs/svn).

The same was true with unit-testing - it's always been a "we need to do this" mentality but it never really materializes in a substantive form b/c there is no institutional knowledge base to do it - no mentorship.

Version Control

The emphasis for version control management at one place was a very strict protocol for commit messages (format & content). The other places let employees just do "whatever".

The branching, tagging, committing, rolling back, and merging aspect of things was always ill defined and almost never used. This sort of seems to leave the version control system in the position of being a fancy file-storage mechanism with a meta-data component that never really gets accessed/utilized. (The same was true for unit testing and committing code to the source tree)

Unit tests

It seems there's a prevailing "we must/should do this" mentality in most places I've worked. As a policy or standard operating procedure it never gets implemented because there seems to be a very ill-defined understanding about what that means, what is going to be tested, and how to do it.

Summary

It seems most places I've been to think version control and unit testing is "important" b/c the trendy trade journals say it is but, if there's very little mentorship to use these tools or any real business policies, then the full power of version control/unit testing is never really expressed. So grunts, like myself, never really have a complete understanding of the point beyond that "it's a good thing" and "we should do it".

Question

I was wondering if there are blogs, books, white-papers, or online journals about what one could call the business process or "standard operating procedures" or uses cases for version control and unit testing? I want to know more than the trade journals tell me and get serious about doing these things.

PS:

@Henrik Hansen had a great comment about the lack of definition for the question. I'm not interested in a specific unit-testing/versioning product or methodology (like, XP) - my interest is more about work-flow at the individual team/developer level than evangelism. This is more-or-less a by product of the management situation I've operated under more than a lack of reading software engineering books or magazines about development processes. A lot of what I've seen/read is more marketing oriented material than any specifically enumerated description of "well, this is how our shop operates".

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