Sunday, July 27, 2014

Development Environment

I took this project as an opportunity to learn recent web development techniques. This is the list of buzz words I've used:

First, I used Bower to download Durandal and Bootstrap and prepared some basic Grunt configuration (run web server for development). Then, I dived into Durandal and learned how to structure the application. I tried to scaffold the app structure with existing Durandal's Grunt configuration but eventually, I created everything from scratch using the scaffolding structure as a tutorial. One learns more with this approach.

Having basic app structure (2 pages wired together) and grunt configuration, I created my first Jasmine test. I wanted to practice TDD for development but I found out that it does not work well for me. I did not have any clear vision how things would work and I did a lot of changes during the development. That's why I have just classic unit tests. Once I am satisfied with a feature, I create unit tests for it to make sure I won't break it in future.

Although Durandal uses AMD, I worried about referencing source files from tests. The research, experimentation and creating Grunt configuration took me some time. But it works nicely in the end. Grunt's Jasmine task references two require.config.js files. The first one is the main application require.config.js file and the second one is Jasmine's one with baseUrl pointing to application's folder. All unit tests run when any of my JavaScript files change.

The last thing to figure out was how to test SQL queries. I set it up only later when I was developing the report and it was obvious that with manual testing I would not be able to cover all the corner cases properly. I use T.S.T. and I set it up like unit tests. I have special query file which contains just the SQL query. Using simple script, this query is inserted into production and testing JavaScript template files. If any of these files change, tests are triggered. Of course, there is a Grunt task for firing it up.

Note at the end: web technologies change rapidly. Today, instead of Durandal, I might use just Knockout 3 based on Steve Sanderson NDC presentation:  Architecting large Single Page Applications with Knockout.js.

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