Why it's important to see the test fail

With automated testing and test-driven development, it’s important to see a test fail. If a test passes straight away, how do you know that you’re testing the right thing? You could be accidentally testing a different piece of functionality, or it could be a false positive.

If the functionality already exists, do you need another test for it?

When you see a test fail, you know that the functionality hasn’t been implemented, that you’re testing the correct thing, and you have a clear goal to work towards.

If you’re fixing a bug, writing a test and seeing it fail verifies the bug exists and that, once the bug is fixed, the test will pass.

Usually, you can anticipate why a test will fail as it evolves and know when it will pass. If a test passes before I expect, I’m immediately sceptical and will look into why rather than assuming it passed for the right reasons.

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