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Python Testing: Beginner's Guide

3.4 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1847198846
ISBN-10: 1847198848
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Daniel Arbuckle holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Southern California. While at USC, he performed original research in the Interaction Lab (part of the Center for Robotics and Embedded Systems) and the Laboratory for Molecular Robotics (now part of the Nanotechnology Research Laboratory). His work has been published in peer-reviewed journals and in the proceedings of international conferences.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Packt Publishing (February 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847198848
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847198846
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,509,666 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Drew A. Verlee on May 31, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This review is more of a warning, The kindle version is unreadable because it pushes all the code to the left.

for x in range(1):
for y in range(2):
print x
print y
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Format: Paperback
I received this book for review from Packt Publishing due to the fact that I have a blog about Python and Bioinformatics. Test driven development preaches that most of the code (ideally all of it) should be wrapped in test functions that will show if your code is producing the right output or not. And this book gives a very nice introduction to the topic if you are using Python as your language of choice. PTBG is a very well written book, with detailed explanations of the major Python tools for test driven development: doctests, unittest, nose, among others.

The book gives short introduction about the topic, but jumps right into the action in the first chapters. One thing that I liked is that the book does not have a introduction to Python section, like many other books that are supposed to be about an specific topic, so you don't waste space and time. Also, PTBG is unique among Python-related books, as there are not many published options about this subject. Of course there's ample material online about test driven development, but if you need a good (introductory) reference book about it, this is the book to buy.
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From the perspective of a beginning python developer, having inherited a system that needs a lot more testing, spending the 2-3 days working through this book was a good investment of time. Python has this bewildering range of frameworks, and even the best non-testing framework documentation only give an overview of the process of building the QA suite from the ground up.

It covers the following frameworks, each in its own chapter.

-Doctest (the most simple and basic python tester, part of standard library)
-Unittest (more advanced testing framework easier to automate
-Mocker (using mock objects as stubs to isolate code that isn't by its nature isolated. This one was a complete revelation to me and worth the price of the book alone)
-Nose (test automation suite - a definite time-saver).

Plus several chapters that are a range of reused examples that gradually works up the testing stack from unit testing through integration testing to system testing, in bite-sized chunks and with a - to me - agreeably informal and motivating style.

It isn't perfect. Two minuses:
1. Python is a very dynamic area, and it is python 2.6 centric. 2.7 and 3.1 are already out there, and understandably not covered.
2. Check for the source code to avoid massive frustration. I was reading it electronically so cut-and-pasted, but the e-publisher had done some automatic formatting to remove leading blanks, insert lines for readability. Python, of course, needs those leading blanks. And doctest, too, treats blank lines as significant.
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Do not buy this book, it is not up to date. Many of the modules it suggests aren't even maintained and haven't been so for a long time along with not being on PyPI. The material was good, but it is so dated, the book is effectively useless for a remotely modern python environment
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Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher, Packt Publishing.

I have been actively using test-driven development methodology for a few years already so I am probably not exactly in the intended target market of the book. I still managed to pick a few valuable nuggets of information from it, though. As stated in the book description, it is essential that you have already basic knowledge of Python. It's definitely needed.

The book uses extremely practical approach in the expense of theory. It walks the reader through various coding tasks with clear prose. There were times when I felt that the examples were a little bit overwhelming. This should not be much of a problem as long as you are prepared to spend the time on them. In addition to the walkthroughs the book contains some reference information and useful quizzes that can be used to check your knowledge.

It would have been useful to have some background information on testing (ie. history, taxonomy of tools and approaches) as appendices. The book covers the basic testing methodology well but I would have appreciated at least some discussion on advanced approaches (ie. BDD, ATDD, refactoring, fuzz testing, etc.).

All things considered if you decide to pick up the book, it might be a good idea to look into additional material focusing on theory of testing, testing patterns and agile methodologies for enhanced understanding of the subject matter.
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First of all, let me say that this review will be rather long and comprehensive, so if you want a short summary: **Buy this book if you are a python programmer, who is interested in best-practices and test driven development.**

I'm a professional programmer, and I use python as well as Django (one of the large python web frameworks) at work and for fun. I picked up this book immediately when I saw it on amazon because I've read tons of documents, articles, and books on test driven development, but have never had the pleasure of reading through a python-specific book for testing.

**Target Audience**

This book is written for developers who:

- Are comfortable with python programming.
- Are familiar with the concept of testing.
- Are interested in using industry standard best practices for development.

If you meet these requirements, read on.

**Approach**

The author, Daniel Arbuckle, takes a practical approach to testing. He starts with the basics, by converting human written program specifications into simple python doctests.

Then he discusses unit tests, mock objects, and continuous building tools.

Throughout the book, you will learn about each form of test, why it is useful, how it should be used and why. The author walks through several programs from start to finish, clearly breaking them down piece by piece, and explaining how they work, and why.

There is no shortage of examples.

**Good Parts**

I absolutely LOVED the writing style used throughout the book. It is brisk, conversational, and you can tell that the author has a lot of passion for the topic.

There are a lot of great examples used throughout the book. They are all clearly explained.
Read more ›
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