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Perl Testing: A Developer's Notebook Paperback – July 21, 2005
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About the Author
Ian Langworth (http://langworth.com/) 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 Perl.com, 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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About the book:
This is narrowly and tightly focused on testing, and use of the "Test::" series of objects and techniques in Perl. It covers basic setups and use, and then expands into using mock objects and the mock modules, which are not covered well, if at all, in other published texts, at least not from the standpoint of being a software tester (as opposed to a coder).
It also shows how to drive and mock-up database testing, and the various ways to go about testing web sites and back-ends with Perl. Finally, it covers Test::Class, which sets up Unit Testing, for those coming from a jUnit or nUnit angle. And it touches on testing from other aspects, such as testing libraries or interactive code.
I have found that most of the O'Reilly "Notebooks" are priced too highly for their small amount of content, and the content is usually very minimal. This book is the one exception I've found in that series.
That being said, I still believe that it should be priced around $20, or perhaps $25. But $5-10 is a minor quibble considering this is the only book of its type (Perl testing).
Another valid criticism is that much of the information in this book can be found spread all over the internet in various places, and some parts can be found in other Perl books. That is true - but ultimately irrelevant. Disparate clusters of information without completeness or context is simply not very valuable when compared to a solid text focused on the subject matter.
It is a good compilation and reference for its subject, with a lot of information and context provided, which makes it superior to a collection of links and snippets here and there on the internet.
If you are a Perl coder or a tester, this is a handy book to have on your shelf.
I found several tips that helped me speed up my development and maintenance of test harnesses, as well as a number of new coding techniques (new to me, at least).
I consider this one of the best purchases I've made this year.
Perl Testing is part of O'Reilly's Developer's Notebook series of books. The idea is to get the ideas to press quickly, so the books are very concise, straight to the point, and include some themed features such as notes in the margins and "coffee stains". It makes for a more causal book, and stresses workable solutions rather than extreme formality. Sure, its a bit gimmicky, but the format works, and gets the information out quickly. Unfortunately it appears O'Reilly hasn't published any books in this series since Perl Testing so I hope they resurrect it for future topics.
Perl Testing is divided into nine chapters: Beginning Testing, Writing Tests, Managing Tests, Distributing Your Tests (and Code), Testing Untestable Code, Testing Databases, Testing Web Sites, Unit Testing with Test::Class, and Testing Everything Else. Each chapter has several subtopics, beginning with a prelude describing the testing situation, a "How do I do that" explanation, a "What just happened" discussion of the results, and a "What about..." exploration of other tips and tricks. This formality, even for such an informal book, makes for an easy-to-read style, and allows for the book to be used both as a tutorial and a reference for specific tests and testing situations. The code for the tests is both well written and clear, and the tests themselves are well thought out. One might accuse the authors of being too paranoid with their testing, but when bugs are out to get you, paranoia is just good thinking.
Perl Testing is a well-thought out book. I enjoyed leafing through the tests, and found myself thinking "I never thought of that" at some of the tests performed. Some might think that a whole book devoted to testing might be a bit extreme, but compared with other books who dedicate maybe a chapter or two for testing, having this subject covered at length is long overdue. The best summary for Perl Testing would be on the back cover: "You don't have to be a die-hard free and open source developer who lives, breathes, and dreams Perl to use Perl Testing: A Developer's Notebook. You just have to want to do your job better". This is an excellent resource for those looking to have their Perl programs truly sing, and demonstrate their resilience to the bugs and other foibles that plague software development. If you're even thinking of doing Perl programming, and care at all about the quality of your code, you owe yourself a read through Perl Testing: A Developer's Notebook.
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What it's not:
* an intro to TDD methodologies; for that you...Read more