“Emily’s talks on Clean Code gave us a big push towards Software Craftsmanship. Her lightning talks followed by provoking questions stirred up many interesting discussions."

Arnulf Krokeide, Software Architect, Confirmit, Oslo

"I had the great pleasure to assist Emily to arrange JDojo@Gbg Coding Dojo meetings. She's an excellent facilitator, perfectly balancing the level of tutoring and stepping back to let the participants "learn by doing". 

Fredrik Wendt, co-organizer of JDojo@Gbg

“When I have been asking about feedback around this Coding Dojo course, people are very satisfied. They think that everyone in the house should have to take it. Really valuable.”

Martin Andersson, Manager, Software Engineering at Jeppesen

I brought in Emily to work with the team on issues around Clean Code, Test Driven Development and Refactoring. Her presentation of the material was always very professional and the structure of the sessions allowed for a lot of interaction and reflection. The feedback from the participants has always been very positive.

Isak Styf, Software Team Leader at Markem-Imaje

I liked "The Coding Dojo Handbook" a lot. It was not too long, very to the point and practical.

-- Anders Schau Knatten, Developer, Oslo

Agility with Legacy Code

Bache Consulting - Agility with Legacy Code - Clean Code - Approval Testing
Agile 2008 programming competition with Michael Feathers, photo by Tom Poppendieck

Getting control of a Legacy codebase

It's hard to get going with agile if your codebase is not designed well and has poor automated test coverage. It's not easy to simultaneously improve the code quality and test coverage while at the same time continuing to deliver functionality. There's a human aspect as well, all the developers need to prioritize keeping the codebase clean, and continuing to improve test coverage.

Bache Consulting can help you if you find yourself in this situation. We offer a "Clean Code Seminar" which is designed to provoke some important issues for discussion within the development teams. We also offer "Coding Dojo" training sessions for teams wanting to learn Test Driven Development. In addition, we offer coaching and training in "Text-Based Approval Testing", a technique that is well suited to getting legacy code under test.

Text-Based Approval Testing

It is not usually all that easy to start writing classic unit tests for existing code that was not designed with testability in mind. JUnit et al require the code to be divided into isolatable units that can be tested individually. Much legacy code just isn’t designed this way, making it difficult to improve test coverage without doing risky refactorings first.

In this situation I’d often recommend starting with Approval Testing in order to get basic automated test coverage while you refactor the design to enable finer granularity unit tests. It’s a technique suited to almost any language and platform, for example C/C++ and Java. All that is required is that you can drive your system via the command line, (or certain rich client GUIs - see “StoryText”), and convert the output to some form of plain text.

Text-Based Approval Testing is a simple idea, which is to scale a common technique from unit testing to a whole program. You’re probably familiar with tests containing statements like AssertEquals(String expected, String actual). Text-Based Approval tests are similar, but for larger strings produced by whole programs. You save the "expected" string from the actual output of the program as a “golden copy”, which you compare against the “actual” output when you run the program again. This test will pass so long as the program output doesn’t differ from the golden copy. If it does, the test fails, and you view the differences. You can then either fix the program, or update the golden copy.


This tool is designed to help you write readable, robust, agile automated tests for rich-client applications built with Eclipse Rich-Client Platform or Java Swing. For more information see the TextTest website I'm one of the early-adpoter users of this tool, and I'd be more than happy to demo it for you.

Coaching & Training

If you are working with legacy code and need help getting it under test in order to become more agile, I’d normally recommend Text-Based Approval Testing. I’d be happy to come and talk to you about what that means in practice, and help you get going with some training and coaching. Please download a flyer with more information about what I offer.


More Information

For more information about our Coaching in Text-Based Testing, please use the form below: