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The blogged wandering of Robert W. Anderson

Moving from TestDriven.NET to ReSharper

Many have written on the transition of TestDriven.NET from freeware to a per-seat license. My sense (without any numbers to back it up) is that TestDriven.NET is the leading unit test integration with Visual Studio. It has had two things going for it: it works quite well and it was free. The former is still true, and the latter shouldn’t make much of a difference. The new prices seem reasonable (anywhere from $95 to $105 depending on license and quantity). I wish Jamie Cansdale luck with his product, though I suspect the transition to a profitable product will be challenging.

We (at Digipede) have long been users of both TestDriven.NET and the JetBrains product, ReSharper. In addition to tremendous refactoring, analysis, and searching functionality, ReSharper 2.0 also supports running and debugging unit tests (though I had not been able to get this to work). The transition in the license for forced this issue: a quick trip to the JetBrains forum and I found out was wrong. Now that we can do all of our test-debugging in ReSharper we have uninstalled

I quickly found that I greatly prefer the user experience of ReSharper: it is more tightly integrated into Visual Studio. Most significantly, it has rich UI to visualize and control the unit tests across the solution. This UI is presented in menus, a dockable view (somewhat like the Nunit GUI), as well as with unit-test indicator buttons in the left bar of the source-code window. This makes it easy to select tests and run or debug them. I can easily visualize the test results, view stack traces for failures, etc, and trivially navigate to the failing source code. This is undeniably richer than TestDriven.NET (i.e., with menus and results relegated to the Visual Studio output window). In addition, ReSharper integrates its unit testing with their dotTrace performance measurement tool.

TestDriven certainly offers a different set of features than ReSharper (e.g., support for more test frameworks, compatibile with Visual Studio Express, NCover integration). I suppose it comes down to individual choice as to which integration a user prefers; however, the excellent refactoring support provided by ReSharper makes it a better value (at $199 per seat). My guess is that Jamie will begin pursuing tighter UI integration with Visual Studio. Once this is done, Jamie may end up with superior unit testing; however, I suspect he’ll have to find ways of delivering more value (maybe outside of running tests) for his product to be a financial success.

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    Dan Ciruli wrote @ July 31st, 2006 at 12:57 pm

Sounds great. When do we get the Ambient Orb?

    Robert W. Anderson wrote @ July 31st, 2006 at 8:50 pm

You buy it, I’ll integrate it.

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