“test first” the data too!

no, this isn’t rocket science… just a gentle reminder about why some practices are valuable.

now i am reminded why i had been pushing a team to get the “golden data” identified for a project 6 months ago. By “Golden Data” I mean that data which has been carefully selected — or hand crafted — to reveal elements of the application’s functionality. Though the novel technology for this project is a challenge and is by no means trivial, the data itself has been a big struggle as well, mostly due to inherent complexities in gnarly (a technical term ) health care systems’ actual databases.

you see, the application involves grabbing data from n-many sources, some of which may hold duplicates of other sources. in addition, there are certain key values that are deemed “sensitive” and must be handled properly so that only authorized folks can see the sensitive information.

so, there is a combination of code and rules and presentation magic, etc, that all have to jive. however, there also must be the proper data with which to reveal the intended logic. the code could be right, the rules could be right, but if the data is not right, nothing shows up. then starts the wild goose chase… is it the code? is it the rules? is it the presentation logic? or is it the data? or all of the above?

next time, i’ll be sure to emphasize that we have the precise knowledge of the data side of the equation to prove the existence — or not — of a feature.

Note to Self: write the test from the data side — not just code!