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Why Unit Testing in the Database Is Tough

Rob Farley talks about a couple of reasons why database unit testing can be difficult to do:

Hamish wants to develop a conversation about unit testing within database because he recognises that the lack of unit testing is a significant problem. It’s quite commonplace in the world of iterative code, of C#, Java, and those kinds of languages, but a lot less commonplace in the world of data. I’m going to look at two of the reasons why I think this is.

Read Rob’s thoughts in their entirety. I fully agree that we need to test, but get wishy-washy on the topic of automated testing. The reason for that is that tooling is quite limited, and many of those limitations are inherent limits in the database platform itself. For the types of things you most need to test (like hefty stored procedures), the number of test cases spirals out of control quickly. And unlike functional or structured programming languages, T-SQL performance gets markedly worse as you modularize, which makes it so difficult to get down to an easily testable block of code.