- Paperback: 456 pages
- Publisher: Prentice Hall; 1 edition (October 2, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0131177052
- ISBN-13: 978-0131177055
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,594 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Working Effectively with Legacy Code 1st Edition
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From the Back Cover
Get more out of your legacy systems: more performance, functionality, reliability, and manageability
Is your code easy to change? Can you get nearly instantaneous feedback when you do change it? Do you understand it? If the answer to any of these questions is no, you have legacy code, and it is draining time and money away from your development efforts.
In this book, Michael Feathers offers start-to-finish strategies for working more effectively with large, untested legacy code bases. This book draws on material Michael created for his renowned Object Mentor seminars: techniques Michael has used in mentoring to help hundreds of developers, technical managers, and testers bring their legacy systems under control.
The topics covered include
- Understanding the mechanics of software change: adding features, fixing bugs, improving design, optimizing performance
- Getting legacy code into a test harness
- Writing tests that protect you against introducing new problems
- Techniques that can be used with any language or platformwith examples in Java, C++, C, and C#
- Accurately identifying where code changes need to be made
- Coping with legacy systems that aren't object-oriented
- Handling applications that don't seem to have any structure
This book also includes a catalog of twenty-four dependency-breaking techniques that help you work with program elements in isolation and make safer changes.
© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.
About the Author
MICHAEL C. FEATHERS works for Object Mentor, Inc., one of the world's top providers of mentoring, skill development, knowledge transfer, and leadership services in software development. He currently provides worldwide training and mentoring in Test-Driven Development (TDD), Refactoring, OO Design, Java, C#, C++, and Extreme Programming (XP). Michael is the original author of CppUnit, a C++ port of the JUnit testing framework, and FitCpp, a C++ port of the FIT integrated-testing framework. A member of ACM and IEEE, he has chaired CodeFest at three OOPSLA conferences.
© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.
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Top Customer Reviews
Feathers does an excellent job of articulating the problems and scenarios, using clear examples from C, C++, Java, and C#. Many of the code examples look a lot like real examples I come across all the time--they don't appear to be fabricated.
Working Effectively With Legacy Code contains a catalog that provides a wealth of solutions. The catalog shows how to resolve concerns like, "I'm changing the same code all over the place" and "how do I safely change procedural code?"
The book is highly entertaining and comes across as a conversation with a really sharp, really patient guru developer. Often, it's a chore to slog through code-heavy books. But Feathers manages to keep my attention with interesting stories, loads of examples, and well-written text.
I think that Working Effectively With Legacy Code is an important book. The vast majority of existing code presents the classic catch-22: you can't change it safely because it doesn't have tests, and you can't write tests without changing it to easily support testing. It's not an easy problem, and most people will give you high-level ideas for solving it. Feathers is the first person to dig deep and present a wealth of knowledge and insight on the problem, all in one place. I'll be pulling this book from my shelf for years to come.
Feathers covers the topics of why, and how to deal with code that is difficult to change with a variety of useful patterns. Most useful of these is the legacy code change algorithm:
1. identify the change points
2. find test points
3. break dependencies
4. write tests
5. make changes and refactor
This book will make you a better developer.
Now, the only downside of this book is that the examples covering several different languages can sometimes obscure the teaching of the narrative. Perhaps in a future edition it would be nice to see a single language (or a couple) and have extra resources available in the electronic versions or websites to cover other languages. To me, this did not represent something worth dropping this from a 5 star review. I gave my physical copy away long ago and repurchased a second copy on the kindle.
Michael Feathers does a great job of modelling his mindset, choices, and techniques through short example case studies. Nothing is presented as dogma, and many cases are followed to see the effects of different techniques to solve the same problem.
Many of the techniques to get code into a testable form are just best practice or are similar to a Design Pattern, but a key strength of this book is making getting from here to there within reach. Clients and superiors want code that works, and the testing and incremental approach that Michael advocates provides the net for safely and confidently making the transition to less tightly-coupled, more modular, understandable, and verified code from the time-tested battle-worn code many of us call home.
Even better, Michael's approach destroys the "design vs just maintenance" dichotomy, as it satisfies that little voice to start making improvements we've been putting off when we get our code in testable form.
I hope my department picks this up, and that we all start leaving the code a little better than we found it.
Some of Michael's techniques are old friends that I never thought to use in this way. Others were things I didn't realize I knew at all, and others were totally new to me. What they all had in common was that they offer a wealth of approaches to incrementally improve a tough situation, both to accomplish the immediate task and to prepare for further improvements later. This pay-as-you go alternative is both more effective and less risky than either of the extremes of doing nothing or large-scale replacement.
Another strength of the book is that Mr. Feathers provides examples in several languages, mostly Java and C++, but also Ruby and some others. This variety is very helpful for deepening our understanding of both the problems and the solutions.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
the signatories of the Agile manifesto (Robert Martin, Martin Fowler
or Kent Beck, to name a few)...Read more
minus one star since there are a lot of places that the words / paragraph just missing.Read more