- "Why automate tests for plugins?"
# Why automate tests for plugins?
This note describes the motivation for writing [[for Plugin Developers to Automate Tests|automated tests for software]], in the context of writing plugins for Obsidian.
## Manual Testing
### Why even test your plugin at all?
- To know it works: intended behaviour
- To know it's done/good enough
- To not break user's (and your) data
### Steps to test Obsidian Plugins
1. Write your code
1. Build your plugin
1. Run it in Obsidian
1. Click and type to test it
1. Go to 1
- Yes, it's possible to streamline that
- But it's still a mental context switch out of your IDE
- And it interrupts your flow
### Testing Over Time...
It starts off easy, and gets progressively harder.
- You add a **feature**
- You know how to test it manually and you know it works
- The code is small and fresh in your mind
- You had **another feature**
- Now you have two features to test
- You had another feature, and **a few more**
- Either you test by hand all the features so far and the interactions between them, or maybe you just test the newest features
- Now you have got more codes that could break and more features to test
- And of course the code becomes more complicated to
- Maybe somebody comes along and submit a **pull request** to improve your plug-in
- They didn't know all the manual tests they needed to run, so now you need to run all the manual tests
- Or maybe you spend your time writing up a **load of detailed notes** about how to test it manually, and of course those notes quickly become out of date
- And the time that you're spending writing instructions about testing or testing manually it's not just boring time it's time when you're not adding value and not having fun
- Or maybe you wait for users to report bugs and breakages?
## Another way
- You write short snippets of code that exercise bits of your plug-in in various ways and that check that the result is what was expected
- Now you've written that code, you can run it as many times as you want - and very quickly
- You can even make it run continuously whilst you're developing
- The computer can check the behaviour far faster than you can
- And you can ask GitHub Actions to run it for you every time you or a contributor pushes code to GitHub
## Why automated tests?
- Massively quicker than manual
- Fix whilst fresh in mind
- The earlier a bug is found, the easier it is to fix it
- Helps others work on code
- Learn about your code
- Learn about other people's code
## Isn't it hard?
- It's a skill you can learn
- Gets easier with practice
- Gets easier with seeing how others test code
- When you get good at it, it saves loads of time
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