TDD Help Topic Flap

There’s been quite a bit of noise lately regarding a well-intentioned, but erroneous topic on doing Test-Driven Development using Team System (Guidelines for Test-Driven Development).

We’re aware of the issue and are taking steps to rectify it. An error in a help topic is no different than a coding error – it’s a bug and we’re fixing it. Because of the process involved in publishing product documentation on MSDN, it takes a little bit of time to get updated files in place.

Thanks to Scott Bellware for helping to bring attention to the issue (I first read about it on Sam Gentile's blog though). Despite the conspiracy theories I’ve seen in some blog posts, I hope most people understand that this was simply a flawed topic and not a nefarious plan to usurp TDD.

Comments (9)
  1. Rob,

    Thanks for the update. Scott sure did bring some good visibility to this. I’m wondering why it the post by Dr. Neil on October 15th didn’t get that much attention:

  2. RobCaron says:


    I haven’t been following Dr. Neil’s blog, but he came up in a conversation I had with Frank Arrigo on Tuesday evening in Adelaide. I’ll add him to my news reader. I first heard of the troubles with this topic after reading Sam Gentile’s blog post on it.

  3. Sam Gentile says:


    As always, you command my respect by your actions and listening. Thank you.

  4. Gishu says:

    Scott’s post was better and went hell for leather after that post.

    Maybe that’s why 🙂

    Thanks rob, for fixing that blip on MSDN.

  5. It is indeed a relief to see that the document in question has been taken down. Much thanks.

    What would it have taken to ask the TDD community about TDD practice and appropriate tooling rather than assume that MS Folk understand it by the very nature of being from Microsoft? It’s this rising arrogance that has lead in the Whidbey wave to an increasing predilection for asking only the left hand side of the customer skills curve for product input which in turn leads to the the product design baubles like VSTS and TDD as well as the Web project system.

    Microsoft is broaching a dangerous practice in assuming that it can prescribe practices to customers that it itself does not readily engage in. Not recognizing its own weakness or being in complete denial of the weakness is a problem.

    What will Microsoft product teams do to fix this? I want to see a plan for Orcas that includes the XP customer role on product teams where this customer isn’t some marketing droid who doesn’t actually use the products to build actual software systems.

  6. KevinT says:

    The underlying reason for the level of noise about the article (IMHO) was not because it was so far off the mark but because people such as myself had hopes and expectations that VS2005 would contain excellent support for TDD and really drive it to the unwashed masses.

    Instead we got what we got and went back to OSS offerings.

    So i think the noise is a symptom of our collective frustration, not a random opportunity to bash Microsoft.

    You should hire Scott and let him fix it – at least he really is in a position to publish guidance on the topic.

  7. Rob Caron says:

    After last year’s TDD Help Topic Flap, we asked Jeffrey Palermo to write an article on the topic….

  8. Rob Caron says:

    Allen Clark wrote about rating help topics in his recent post on the Team System User Education blog…

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