Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Test-first Mine Sweeper

I don't play many games on computers (too much other stuff to do). So, some of you will be shocked and mortified that I only recently discovered that, in Minesweeper, if you both-button click on a number, it will either highlight the un-clicked cells adjacent to it or go ahead and uncover cells that you would know are already mine-free. It's harder to explain than to do it. Some of you can't believe that anyone that has been using Windows for better than 10 years is just now finding this out, and the others can't figure out what I'm talking about. For those who don't know, dash over and try it...I'll wait.

Back? OK, here's the thing. When I do test-first development, I write the test and go ahead and run it, knowing full well that it will fail. It's sort of a Zen thing, I guess. I know that it takes a little more time, but it's part of the satisfaction of seeing it fail then succeed shortly afterwards. Even this isn't so unusual.

I've found that I do the same thing when I play (what is to me) the New and Improved Minesweeper -- I do test-first clicking. Even if I know that there is only one possible uncovered cell nearby that this number can reach, I still double-button click on it to satisfy myself that it is the only one. It's test-first Mine Sweeper.

I really should get out more.

1 comment:

Dave Smith said...

When you want to see if a candidate can think their feet, do test-driven design, and collaborate, test-first Minesweeper is a great interview fodder. Stand together at a whiteboard, trade ideas, and see how far you get in 15 minutes.

I've been using this in interviews for several years, and have found it to be a great way to quickly get a handle on wether a candidate is a good fit.