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Perl Testing: A Developer's Notebook Paperback – 24 Jul 2005

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Good software testing can increase your productivity, improve your designs, raise your quality, and make you more productive overall. With this series of hands-on labs, you'll learn how Perl's test tools work and how to use them to create basic and complex tests and interpret your results. Perl Testing: A Developer's Notebook is ideal if you want to reduce your software development cycle times.

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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Format: Paperback
This is a decent overview of Perl testing libraries, that goes further than the material in Intermediate Perl and the second edition of Advanced Perl Programming. It also moves pretty fast, as is the practical bent of the Developer's Notebook series. This will be welcome for any programmer familiar with testing tools in other languages, although testing newbies should be able to understand the mechanics without trouble.

Apart from the unit testing basics, it also goes over mocks, coverage, databases, webpages, testing documentation and module layout, and (most importantly for Perl) testing scripts. The Test::Class module, a xUnit-style module is also covered, although the more procedural Test::More seems to be the standard tool in Perl and is given the most attention. Code for a simple continuous integration tool is presented, which is pretty neat, given how short it is.

The emphasis in this book is very much on the how, rather than the why. Unlike many other books, you are given complete code along with how to execute the scripts and the expected output, which is very helpful. What isn't covered is any of the development methodologies that have driven the interest in testing methods. There's no discussion of Test Driven Development here, or how developer-driven unit testing meshes with the software building process, and there's only cursory or no discussion of what to test, where to start, test organisation (which IMO quickly becomes the limiting step in going test-infected), dealing with legacy code, dummies vs stubs vs mocks, white box vs black box testing etc. For the latter, you will have to consult the likes of xUnit Test Patterns, Unit Testing in Java and Test Driven Development: A Practical Guide. None of these books contain Perl code, however.
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Format: Paperback
Im a big fan of the O'reilly 'Animal Books'. But i must admit that i find the "A Developers Notebook" series a hard read. The writing is sketchy, and can be hard to follow. (Oh and the squared paper and coffee stains is naff.)

I bought this book as i was having trouble getting into testing.
The selection of test modules can be bewildering. Perldoc lacks the depth of explanation to get you started.
Unfortunately this book is sufficiently difficult a read that it went back on the shelf for many months.
Recently, i broke through this impasse, and have now worked my way through the book.
It has good coverage of the topic, and is probably enough to allow me to start testing.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x95abf42c) out of 5 stars 21 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95bb5528) out of 5 stars no nonsense introduction to the imporant stuff 5 Aug. 2007
By Ricardo Signes - Published on Amazon.com
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.

In fact, I think it's safe to say that a more traditional technical book on this subject might have been just the sort of overblown self-important thing that would've kept more people scared of and away from testing. Instead, it's a great crash course for the uninitiated.

For the initiated, I'm not sure how useful it would be. I must say that I didn't find many new or esoteric things in PTDN, but I don't think I'm its target audience. I already use and love coverage reports, I aim for full coverage on my code, and I like keeping my eye on the Test:: namespace for neat new tricks. If I were to hire a lackey, though, who wasn't already familiar with testing, this book would be high up on his must-read list. Knowing how to test your software is vitally important, and this book provides a very short path to that knowledge.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9685cbf4) out of 5 stars Finally a Practical Guide to Perl Testing 10 Sept. 2005
By Mike Schilli - Published on Amazon.com
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.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95c6f438) out of 5 stars Excellent book 12 Sept. 2006
By Eric J. Wu - Published on Amazon.com
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.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9619b828) out of 5 stars This is a great Perl testing book 9 Oct. 2005
By Robert Hicks - Published on Amazon.com
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.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95c8e0e4) out of 5 stars Pragmatic guide to Perl testing 3 Aug. 2005
By Jack D. Herrington - Published on Amazon.com
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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