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Perl Testing: A Developer's Notebook Paperback – July 21, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ian Langworth ( has been writing Perlfor years and actively involved in the community since 2003.He has contributed a handful of modules to the CPAN, most ofwhich are Kwiki-related. He has spoken at Perl-relatedconferences as LISA and YAPC. Ian is also the authorsurprisingly widespread utility, Cadubi, which is packagedfor many free operating systems.Ian is currently studying Computer Science and CognitivePsychology at Northeastern University. Whilst pursuinga degree, he's participating in an volunteer systemsadministration group and working toward making higher codequality and robustness an easier goal to achieve.He currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts where heparticipates in the local Boston Perl Mongers group and livesprecariously close to Fenway Park.

chromatic is the technical editor of the O'Reilly Network, coveringopen source, Linux, development, and dynamic languages. He is also the author of the Extreme Programming Pocket Guide and Running Weblogs with Slash, as well as the editor of BSD Hacks and Gaming Hacks. He is the original author of Test::Builder, the foundation for most modern testing modules in Perl 5, and has contributed many of the tests for core Perl. He has given tutorials and presentations at several Perl conferences, including OSCON, and often writes for, which he also edits. He lives just west of Portland, Oregon, with two cats, a creek in his backyard, and, as you may have guessed, several unfinished projects.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 202 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (July 24, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596100922
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596100926
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #439,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ricardo Signes on August 5, 2007
Format: Paperback
I was initially not excited by O'Reilly's "Developer's Notebook" line of books. A lot of things conspired to make me turn up my nose. The design looked too gimmicky, the first few books turned me off (I don't remember specifics, but it was something like Excel Macros, Java Networking, and some other crap), and something inside me just felt like it was a dumb idea. I don't know why: I used to use similar references all the time, back when the Linux HOWTOs weren't useless. Anyway, when I heard that the new Perl testing book was going to be a notebook, I sort of groaned, but I still made sure I got it as soon as it was out and dug in.

Testing is Really Important. It serves as a secondary form of documentation, it makes it easier to add new features, it makes it easier to fix broken features, and it makes your replacement's job a lot easier when you win the lottery and retire early. It's a sad fact that plenty of people don't test their code, and that many of those who want to just don't know how. PTDN is a crash course for those people. It gets right to the point: page one says, roughly, "You know you should be testing, so here's how you do it. First, run the CPAN shell and install Test::Simple."

The rest of the book sticks to that no-crap attitude. "You want to do X. Here's what you do, and here's what happens when you do it." There isn't much of "why should I do this" or "how does this work on the inside" and that's just right. The book isn't there to show you how Devel::Cover works, or to explain the ideas behind agile development. It's there to help you do the job you know you need to do. It's like an old-style HOWTO extracted back one level of abstraction, or a set of nice fat articles on a series of related topics.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Mike Schilli on September 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
You'll read this book cover-to-cover. It's easy,

it's concise, it's fun and it will change your

testing attitude. You'll be inspired immediately,

roll up your sleeves and get started.

Sure, Ian Langworth and chromatic could have

written a 700-page reference tome on all the

different testing modules available and how to use

every single feature. Instead, they just show you

what expert perl programmers do when they're

testing their work.

They're getting you 90% there. If you need more,

it's easy to pick up the details from the manual

pages of the various testing modules, most of

which come with excellent documentation. The

value of this book is that it shows you what's

available and covers an astonishing amount of

different use cases.

O'Reilly's "Developer's Notebook" style is

somewhat unusual, very FAQ-like. The only gripe I

have with this series are recurring headlines like

"How do I do that?" and "What just happened?",

which I'd rather like to be replaced by


Summary: I strongly recommend this book if you

want to improve the quality of your code by

verifying it thoroughly. Using the recipes in

"Perl Testing" takes the unsexyness out of

Quality Assurance.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Eric J. Wu on September 12, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Love this book, excellent intro to Perl testing. One of the few (or only) books on Perl testing out there. Not sure what the people who gave it a low rating would've recommended instead - there are some web docs out there but they are all by chromatic too.

Contents include the following:

Test::More, Dest::Deep, test_ok, cmp_deeply, is, Devel::Cover, Test::Harness, Mock modules, program testing, testing databases and Apache, and much more.

Fairly easy to follow. If you program seriously in Perl, but need to learn more about testing, this is the book to have.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Robert Hicks on October 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
If you have never been involved in testing your Perl stuff this book lets you know just about everything that you would want to know. Being new to Perl, this book told me everything I wanted to know about testing my Perl programs.

If you are already testing your Perl programs, this book may give you some ideas or get you thinking about different ways to test. If you have never tested your Perl programs before, this book is a fantastic resource.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jack D. Herrington on August 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
Like most of the Notebook series this is a short rocket ride though a series of topics. But this book is written well enough that the flow of test driven development for every type of code will work for an experienced Perl programmer. The book covers the fundamentals of test driven development. It also covers database code testing, and web app testing through robots. An excellent book on Perl and a great addition to the set of O'Reilly Perl books.

While you are looking you should also check out "Perl Best Practices", which is phenomenal.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jon E. Seidel on August 24, 2005
Format: Paperback
My introduction to this book was incredibly valuable. I had been having a problem installing a particular module in ActiveState Perl: I kept getting an error message saying the module was not found, even though the ActiveState website showed that the module WAS available. Well, on page 4 of this book, in the "What About..." section, they answered my question exactly: Test::More is part of the Test::Simple distribution and therefore, you have to install Test::Simple. Very frustrating problem solved, thanks to this book. My delight with the format and presentation continued as I read through the remainder of the material. This book covers not only testing (and a great job of that!) but also introduces a number of additional modules which can be very helpful in Perl development. I particularly like the fact that some of the newer modules are introduced. For example, not only is covered, but also, so you get to compare them side-by-side and learn the differences. I also like the fact that the book includes complete code examples -- of both modules and their test scripts. This means that you can type them in and try them out for real, and then tweak/tune them as you need (and learn more along the way as you introduce your own errors).

I especially like the no-nonsense approach to the topic: this is a "lab", not a "lecture". Hats off to the O'Reilly folks for changing the paradigm and creating a winner!
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