Object Oriented, Test Driven Design in C# and Java: A Practical Example Part #3

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Check out my interview on .NET Rocks! – TDD on .NET and Java with Paul Mooney

For a brief overview, please refer to this post.

We’ve provided our WorkerDrones with a means to determine an appropriate method of transportation by inspecting any given RobotPart implementation. Now WorkerDrones may select a TransportationMechanism implementation that suits each RobotPart. But we have yet to implement the actual logic involved. This is what we’ll cover in this tutorial. Look at how eager the little guy is! Let’s not delay; he’s got plenty of work to do.


Once again, here is our narrative:

“Mechs with Big Guns” is a factory that produces large, robotic vehicles designed to shoot other large, robotic vehicles. Robots are composed of several robotic parts, delivered by suppliers. Parts are loaded into a delivery bay, and are transported by worker drones to various rooms; functional parts such as arms, legs, etc., are dispatched to an assembly room. Guns and explosives are dispatched to an armoury.
The factory hosts many worker drones to assemble the robots. These drones will specialise in the construction of 1 specific robot, and will require all parts that make up that robot in order to build it. Once the drone has acquired all parts, it will enter the assembly room and build the robot. Newly built robots are transported to the armoury where waiting drones outfit them with guns. From time to time, two robots will randomly be selected from the armoury, and will engage one another in the arena, an advanced testing-ground in the factory. The winning robot will be repaired in the arena by repair drones. Its design will be promoted on a leader board, tracking each design and their associated victories.

Let’s look at what exactly happens when we transport a RobotPart.
First, the WorkerDrone needs to identify the RobotPart that it just picked up, so that it can transport the part to the correct FactoryRoom. Let’s dive right in.

In the previous tutorial, we defined a means to do this by examining a RobotPart's RobotPartCategory and returning an appropriate TransportMechanism. Now, let’s add logic to our TransportMechanism.

First, we need to keep track of the FactoryRoom where we’ll offload the RobotParts:


 private FactoryRoom _factoryRoom;


    private E _factoryRoom;

First of all, what can we tell about the difference between both implementations? Both contain private properties, but our C# implementation is explicitly bound to a FactoryRoom object. Our Java implementation, on the other hand, seems to be bound to the letter “E”.

“What’s that all about?”

The difference in implementations can be explained by discussing Generics. Essentially, Generics allow us to define an action, like a method, without defining a concrete return-type or input parameter – instead, we define these in concrete implementations of our abstraction. At this point, rather than go off-topic, I’ll provide a link to a thorough tutorial on this subject in C#.

In a nutshell, the difference in implementations comes down to a personal preference – I prefer Java’s implementation of Generics over C#’s, specifically Java’s support for covariance and contravariance. Again, I’m happy to follow up with this offline, or to host a separate post on the subject, but for now, let’s keep going.

Let’s look at our Java implementation of transportMechanism:

public abstract class transportMechanism<E extends factoryRoom, U extends robotPart> {

Here, we’re telling the compiler that our transportMechanism class will require 2 concrete implementations, both of which should be derived from factoryRoom and robotPart respectively. To illustrate this, let’s look at armouryTransportMechanism, a class derived from transportMechanism in Java:

public class armouryTransportMechanism extends transportMechanism<armoury, weapon> {

    public armoury getFactoryRoom() {
        return new armoury();

Notice our Generic implementation of factoryRoom and robotPart map to armoury and weapon, respectfully.

I’ll cover more about Generics on request. For now, let’s co back to our design.

Our TransportMechanism needs to return an appropriate FactoryRoom:


public abstract FactoryRoom GetFactoryRoom();


public abstract E getFactoryRoom();

So, what actually happens when a WorkerDrone moves RobotParts to a FactoryRoom? The WorkerDrone needs to enter the FactoryRoom, and then offload its components into the FactoryRoom:


        public void EnterRoom() {
            _factoryRoom = GetFactoryRoom();

        public FactoryRoom OffLoadRobotParts(List<RobotPart> robotParts) {
            if (_factoryRoom == null) {
            _factoryRoom.SetRobotParts(new List<RobotPart>(robotParts));

            return _factoryRoom;


    public void enterRoom() {
        _factoryRoom = getFactoryRoom();

    public E offLoadRobotParts(List<U>robotParts) {
        if (_factoryRoom == null) {
        _factoryRoom.setRobotParts(new ArrayList<U>(robotParts));

        return _factoryRoom;

Here is a breakdown of what’s happening:

Our TransportMechanism returns a FactoryRoom implementation, based on the RobotPart carried by the WorkerDrone, and then the FactoryRoom adds the TransportationMechanism to its list of occupants:


        public void AddTransportationMechanism(TransportMechanism transportMechanism) {


    public void addTransportationMechanism(transportMechanism transportMechanism) {

OK. Now our WorkerDrone has entered the FactoryRoom. It should now offload its RobotParts via the OffLoadRobotParts method above. Here’s what’s happening:

  • A safeguard is in place to ensure that the WorkerDrone enters the room before offloading components
  • The WorkerDrones RobotPart payload is copied to the FactoryRoom
  • The WorkerDrones RobotPart payload is emptied

“Why the safeguard? Can’t we just explicitly call the EnterRoom method before calling OffLoadRobotParts?”

Yes, but let’s offer another layer of protection for consuming applications. After all, if a developer forgot to ensure that a WorkerDrone enters a room before offloading RobotParts, the system would crash. Even if we implemented counter-measures to prevent this, our WorkerDrone would effectively dump its payload somewhere in the Factory.

What do you expect me to do now?!?

What do you expect me to do now?!?

Our WorkerDrone is now housed within an appropriate FactoryRoom, and has offloaded its RobotParts to that FactoryRoom.

“So how did we get here?”

Let’s examine the associated Unit Test:


        public void WorkerDroneOffLoadsRobotParts() {
            WorkerDrone workerDrone = new MockedWorkerDrone();
            RobotPart robotPart = new MockedRobotPart(RobotPartCategory.Assembly);

            var factoryRoom = workerDrone.TransportRobotParts();

            Assert.AreEqual(0, workerDrone.GetRobotPartCount());
            Assert.AreEqual(1, factoryRoom.GetRobotPartCount());

            robotPart = new MockedRobotPart(RobotPartCategory.Weapon);

            factoryRoom = workerDrone.TransportRobotParts();

            Assert.AreEqual(0, workerDrone.GetRobotPartCount());
            Assert.AreEqual(1, factoryRoom.GetRobotPartCount());


    public void workerDroneOffLoadsRobotParts() {
        workerDrone workerDrone = new mockedWorkerDrone();
        robotPart robotPart = new mockedRobotPart(robotPartCategory.assembly);

        factoryRoom factoryRoom = workerDrone.transportRobotParts();

        assertEquals(0, workerDrone.getRobotPartCount());
        assertEquals(1, factoryRoom.getRobotPartCount());
        assertThat(factoryRoom, instanceOf(assemblyRoom.class));

        robotPart = new mockedRobotPart(robotPartCategory.weapon);

        factoryRoom = workerDrone.transportRobotParts();

        assertEquals(0, workerDrone.getRobotPartCount());
        assertEquals(1, factoryRoom.getRobotPartCount());
        assertThat(factoryRoom, instanceOf(armoury.class));

Notice out first pair of Asserts. We’ve transported the RobotParts from WorkerDrone to FactoryRoom, and simply assert that both components contain the correct number of RobotParts. Next, we assert that our TransportMechanism has selected the correct FactoryRoom instance; Weapons go to the Armoury, Assemblies to the AssemblyRoom.

“Great. I just looked at those FactoryRoom and RobotPart implementations. They’re all implementations of abstractions. Why didn’t you use interfaces, instead of abstract classes?”

There are 2 reasons for this:

  1. Our abstractions contain methods that need to be accessed by the implementations
  2. Our implementations are instances of our abstractions from a real-world perspective – they don’t just exhibit a set of behaviours.

It’s worth noting that a class can derive from a single class only in both C# and Java, whereas a class can derive from many interfaces as you like.

The next tutorial in the series will focus on returning our WorkerDrones to the DeliveryBay, and outlining the structure of RobotBuilders.

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4 thoughts on “Object Oriented, Test Driven Design in C# and Java: A Practical Example Part #3

  1. Niels H

    Your WorkerDrone is designed to be able to pick up several RobotParts. However, it breaks when it pick up a mix of both categories RobotPartCategory.Assembly and RobotPartCategory.Weapon. There is no guard against this, and all the parts will end up in the FactoryRoom of the last picked up part. Also, you do not have a test to verify the scenarios where more than one part is picked up.

    Whenever a batch of new robot parts is delivered to a room (Armory, AssembyRoom, DeliveryRoom (and why does that not inherit FactoryRoom?)) the code overwrites any parts that might already be there.

    1. Paul Mooney Post author

      Hi Niels, thanks for your comment.

      Yes, that’s exactly right! I’ve deliberately left the design such as that to demonstrate, in a later post, how to deal with fundamental design changes. The solution, is to store RobotParts in a Dictionary in C# or Hashset in Java, where each RobotPart sits adjacent to an appropriate TransportMechanism. During transport, we’ll simply iterate each entry and execute the OffLoadRobotParts method. I’ve already addressed this point here, on reddit.

  2. Tomek

    I have examined the content of the workerDroneOffLoadsRobotParts test, and I have some concerns about it.

    1) What is a SUT, meaning what is the thing you want to test? The assertions seem to validate different objects.
    2) do getRobotPartCount() methods belong to the real API or were they added only to make testing possible?
    3) why so many assertions? it is hard to say what scenario is really tested
    4) testing instanceOf? this is rarely needed, and usually means something is wrong
    5) given/when/then is nice – why not using it?

    All in all, I recommend my (free!) book about best testing practices (and pitfalls): Bad Tests, Good Tests at http://practicalunittesting.com/btgt.php


    1. Paul Mooney Post author

      Hi Tomek, thanks for you comment.

      Answers to your questions below.

      1. The TransportRobotParts method is under test. The assertions validate whether or not the WorkerDrone’s RobotPart count is correct after offload. The WorkerDrone will offload two RobotPart implementations, Weapon and Assembly, in succession to confirm the desired behaviour. There’s an interesting discussion on my .Net Rocks show thread about testing multiple objects per unit test, here: http://www.dotnetrocks.com/default.aspx?showNum=1103
      2. The method exists to provide metadata About the instance. In this case, as you allude, to facilitate the test.
      3. To ensure the desired behaviour occurs by reducing the scope of error.
      4. That’s an interesting point, which I’ve never come across. Would you mind elaborating, please?
      5. The test essentially conforms to that structure, though executing twice over, as per point #1. 0If I deviate from a specific style, it’s a personal preference only.


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