Test Driven Development, PostgreSQL, SQLAlchemy

I just tried out some o’ that new-fangle “Test Driven Development” (TDD) I’ve been hearing about. Yeah, it’s good stuff.veroxybd.com

At the moment, I’m in the process of migrating GIS data from MySQL to PostgreSQL so we can take advantage of the PostGIS spatial extensions. I’ve also been making a bunch of related changes (AKA refactoring) in the “model”, separating things that never belonged together, and so forth.

I started out by rewriting the MySQL data import script. [Note: basically, the script pulls data out of a flat ESRI shapefile and normalizes it.] This wasn’t a complete, from-scratch rewrite–a lot of stuff I just copied over and tweaked a little bit. The biggest changes here were due to using SQLAlchemy instead of typing out SQL queries. I’ll just note that SQLAlchemy is “da bomb” and makes many things easier (once you get the hang of it).

That part was pretty straightforward, and low-level–I didn’t get into the ORM aspects of SQLAlchemy at all.

The next step was to modify the routine that creates adjacency matrices for routing. In the end, this was straightforward too. I ended up reusing some stuff from the new import script, which was cool. I refactored a lot during this process, adding some new modules and classes.

[Here’s where we get to the TDD aspect.]

So, I was sitting there (here really) thinking, “Hmmm… what now?” I drew some diagrams with the new classes and associations…. OK, that’s fun…. “Wait, I know. Run the unit tests!” Doy!

I started with the address normalization service, since the other services both depend on it. The test suite for this service isn’t as comprehensive as it probably should be (there are 19 tests), but it proved to very useful for shaking out a bunch of bugs in all that refactoring. The tests also helped keep me focused, and that aspect might be more important than the bug-squashing aspect (maybe).

Today, address normalization. Tomorrow, geocoding.

Portland Data Update

A couple days ago we updated the Portland region data. This was like a bug-fix release for software–no major changes were made, but a lot of little things here and there were improved and/or fixed.ragrani.ru

Related to this (but still quite separate), we improved (hopefully!) the way routes are found. In particular, we made big changes for when the safer option is selected.

Please let us know what you think.