Michael Foord On Testing, Mock, TDD, And The Python Community


July 22nd, 2018

55 mins 11 secs

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About this Episode


Michael Foord has been working on building and testing software in Python for over a decade. One of his most notable and widely used contributions to the community is the Mock library, which has been incorporated into the standard library. In this episode he explains how he got involved in the community, why testing has been such a strong focus throughout his career, the uses and hazards of mocked objects, and how he is transitioning to freelancing full time.


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  • Your host as usual is Tobias Macey and today I’m interviewing Michael Foord mockingly, about his career in Python


  • Introductions
  • How did you get introduced to Python?
  • One of the main threads in your career appears to be software testing. What aspects of testing do you find so interesting and how did you first get exposed to that aspect of building software?
    • How has the language and ecosystem support for testing evolved over the course of your career?
    • What are some of the areas that you find it to still be lacking?

  • Mock is one of your projects that has been widely adopted and ultimately incorporated into the standard library. What was your reason for starting it in the first place?

    • Mocking can be a controversial topic. What are your current thoughts on how and when to use mocks, stubs, and fixtures?

  • How do you view the state of the art for testing in Python as it compares to other languages that you have worked in?

  • You were fairly early in the move to supporting Python 2 and 3 in a single project with Mock. How has that overall experience changed in the intervening years since Python 2.4 and 3.2?

  • What are some of the notable evolutions in Python and the software industry that you have experienced over your career?

  • You recently transitioned to acting as a software trainer and consultant full time. Where are you focusing your energy currently and what are your grand plans for the future?

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The intro and outro music is from Requiem for a Fish The Freak Fandango Orchestra / CC BY-SA