Below and Beneath TDD: Test Last Development and Other Real-World Test Patterns

Location: Ballroom B Level:
Average rating: ***..
(3.59, 37 ratings)

Everybody knows about test/fail/code/refactor and red/green/clean. When testing in the wild, though, everybody slips and slides a little. This talk explores what makes Test Driven Development really work by showing what happens where the process breaks down, focusing on rapid feedback as the key to a successful test-driven process. It also creates a vocabulary for talking about malformed test processes. These sort-of test processes include:

  • Data Driven Testing (test/code/insert result into test/pass)
  • Test Next Development (code/code/test/refactor)
  • Test Last Development (code/code/code/code/code/test)
  • Coverage Driven Testing
  • Tautology Based Testing
  • Big Test Setup Testing (setup/test/test/test/code/refactor)

I wrote an earlier version of these ideas on the Pathfinder blog

Photo of Noel Rappin

Noel Rappin


Noel Rappin is the Vice President of Rails Development at Pathfinder Development. He is the author of Professional Ruby on Rails from Wrox and Rails Test Prescriptions: Keeping your application healthy, available at He has over a decade of experience in web application development. Noel is the co-author of wxPython in Action and O’Reilly’s Jython Essentials.

Comments on this page are now closed.


Russ Schissler
05/05/2009 8:36am PDT

Decent, info is on the mark. More interaction with some examples of actual test environs would’ve improved the PPT-only presentation.

News and Coverage
co-presented by Ruby Central, Inc. O'Reilly
  • Engine Yard
  • Heroku
  • Sun Microsystems
  • Blue Box Group
  • New Relic

Sponsorship Opportunities

For information on exhibition and sponsorship opportunities at RailsConf, contact Yvonne Romaine at

Download the RailsConf Sponsor/Exhibitor Prospectus

Media Partner Opportunities

Download the Media & Promotional Partner Brochure (PDF) for information on trade opportunities with O'Reilly conferences or contact mediapartners@

Program Ideas

Post your suggestions for speakers, topics, and activities on the RailsConf wiki or send an email to

Press and Media

For media-related inquiries, contact Maureen Jennings at

Contact Us

View a complete list of RailsConf 2009 contacts.