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Test Driven Development for Embedded C (Pragmatic Programmers) 1st Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1934356623
ISBN-10: 193435662X
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Editorial Reviews


"This book is targeting the embedded-programmer-on-the-street and hits its target. It is neither spoon-fed baby talk nor useless theory-spin. In clear and simple prose, James shows working geeks each of the TDD concepts and their C implementations. Any C programmer can benefit from working through this book."

—Michael “GeePaw” Hill, Senior TDD coach, Anarchy Creek Software

"I have been preaching and teaching TDD in C for years, and finally there is a book I can recommend to fellow C programmers who want to learn more about modern programming techniques."

—Olve Maudal, C programmer, Cisco Systems

"James is a true pioneer in applying Agile development techniques to embedded product development…this book was worth waiting for. This is a good and useful book that every embedded developer should read."

—Bas Vodde, Author of "Scaling Lean and Agile Development" and "Practices for Scaling Lean and Agile Development," Odd-e, Singapore

About the Author

James Grenning trains, coaches, and consults worldwide. His considerable experience brings depth in both technical and business aspects of software development. James is leading the way to introduce Agile development practices to the embedded world. He invented Planning Poker and is one of the original authors of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development, February 2001.


Product Details

  • Series: Pragmatic Programmers
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Pragmatic Bookshelf; 1 edition (May 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193435662X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934356623
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #194,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I train, coach and consult worldwide.  I started developing software in the last 70s after avoiding computers from high school to early college years. I've worked in both technical and managerial roles. My mission is to bring improved technical and management practices to development teams. 

I started in embedded software, being one of three people on a team building the first color weather radar display system. It was for the FAA. We did it in 16K or ROM. It was an amazing first product to work on. I've seen a lot more than embedded over my time as an engineer, manager and consultant, and worked with many top people in the software development community.

I was fortunate enough to participate in the creation of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development. In the early days before Agile was Agile, I applied Extreme Programming techniques to an embedded communications system. I could see many advantages in XP and problems solved that embedded software developers face. This led me eventually to write a book I thought embedded developers needed to read: Test-Driven Development for Embedded C. I hope you give it a read and find it interesting. Any C or C++ programmer can use my book to learn the whys and hows of TDD.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As the other reviews have stated, this is a very good book. I had been looking for a book like this for a while, so I first picked this up in a beta version from the Pragmatic Programmers website.

The two first section give a wonderful introduction to TDD in C. By the end of the second section, Grenning has covered the reasons for doing TDD, looked at available tools, and introduced various methods (spies, test doubles, mocks) for breaking module dependencies during testing. Lots of code examples are included throughout. These two sections were by far the most useful to me. Having been a programmer for a number of years without doing TDD, I needed some convincing, so the "Yeah, but..." chapter was spot on.

The third section (Design and Continuous Improvement) feels a little bit more unfocused. It covers three rather large topics (SOLID design, refactoring, and working with legacy code) that all deserve (and have) whole books dedicated to them. It may be intended as further examples of how to apply TDD, and it does do a fine job of that.

In short, I think this book serves as a very good introduction to the topic. That does not mean, however, that it answered all my questions about TDD. Most of these question revolve around how these techniques scale up to larger projects and teams.
Two examples:
* In Chapter 10 it is stated that "Mocks enforce a strict ordering of interactions, which can lead to fragile tests ...". I would have loved to read some thoughts on when this is likely to occur, possible solutions, etc.
* The LED driver example is a good example, but it isn't immediately obvious how this approach would scale to larger hardware blocks (say, a co-processor).
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Format: Paperback
For those who don't want to go through the entire review, here's the summary: Despite including "Embedded C" in the title, this book does not include anything at all particular to embedded programming. This is an introduction to TDD book, and in my opinion not such a good one either.

Here's the breakdown:

I'm a firmware developer so I picked this book up because, (1) I wanted to learn TDD and, (2) I wanted to learn how to apply it to embedded programming. So I thought I can kill two birds with one stone buying this book. Sadly this book does a very poor job at both. In my opinion, anybody picking up a book on TDD is not a beginner in programming. This is a place the book gets things wrong first. It is unnecessarily overly verbose at times, explaining simple things duplicating before and after code snippets. On the other hand, some important points are not explaining enough. For example, the only two points I found useful in this book was link-time substitution and function pointer use. These are not new to a programmer, but I felt are very useful when applying TDD, especially when working with existing legacy code (which most of us will have to work on one time). But the book doesn't explain them in detail (as it does other very trivial topics).

And for the biggest dissapointement, this book has nothing special for embedded programming. The closest the author gets to an embedded system are the two exaplme projects he presents in the book, the LedDriver and the LightScheduler. These two are very simple to qualify as an embedded system, because usually an embedded system is much more complex than turning on an LED at the given time.

An embedded system program differs from a normal program in many ways.
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10 Comments 71 of 89 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
Test-Driven Development for C does exactly what the title promises you. It describes how to do Test-Driven Development in the C programming language. People have argued that Agile development is for modern projects, but not embedded ones. Test-Driven Development can work in Object-Oriented languages but not in programming languages like C. James proves this wrong by showing how you can test-drive you code in C.

The book consists of 4 different parts of which the last part are the appendices, which I'll skip in this review. The first part covers the basics of TDD, the second part discusses how to test a module that has dependencies with other modules. The third part discusses the design aspects of TDD.

The first chapter introduces the concept of test-driven development after which the author continues introducing the two unit test frameworks used in the book: Unity and CppUTest. In the third chapter, the LED example is introduced and used to clarify TDD. The fifth chapter dives in the embedded space and discusses dual targeting and other embedded C techniques. The first part ends with an summary of objections that people typically have against TDD and an counter argument for each other them.

The second part continues with a more complicated example (light automation system). This system has multiple modules and thus each of the modules need to be separated to be able to test it. Chapter 8 discusses link-time substitution and chapter 9 then dives into how to do this at run-time. Chapter 10 introduces Mock objects by first writing one by hand, and then introducing CppUTest mocking and CMock.

The last part dives into design. In the end, TDD is a design technique, so a TDD book couldn't do without diving deeper into design.
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