Perl Testing: A Developer's Notebook Paperback – 24 Jul 2005
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From the Publisher
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.
Top customer reviews
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.
This is not a very long book, and there's not always the detail you might want for the more advanced topics. The emphasis on applications rather than principles also means that the book is a little vulnerable to API changes and newer CPAN modules. That said, part of the deal with the Developer's Notebook series is the lack of ceremony, so as long as you know what you're getting it's hard to complain, particularly as it's possible to pick up a copy at a reasonable price. Also, the writing itself is clear, direct and no-nonsense. It's a useful resource, and certainly in a more convenient format than scrolling through countless perldoc pages.
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.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This book does a fantastic job of explaining that. The style adopted here is such that you can possibly start at any page in the book and get a list of steps to get your job done. Remember this is a developer's notebook, not a typical textbook. So it is going to be like a bunch of notes on different topics, all related to each other. In that sense the sequence of topics progresses only in terms of logical complexity and not such that you need to learn something from earlier chapters to understand later chapters. This however implies that advanced and thorough knowledge of Perl is assumed. This is not a book on Perl itself - more like a book on testing, but using Perl.
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.
Why 4/5 stars? I have found a few bits and pieces of information that would have been useful but the book did not cover (or, more precisely, I do not remember the book covering). Perhaps the most important omission is specification-based testing using LectroTest. It could be that the module came out after the book was published in which case the book gets 4/5 stars for its age. I could be wrong, but I get the impression that Perl testing has grown a lot since 2005, so perhaps they should write a second edition.
I can say this much: If O'Reilly were to put out a second edition of this book, I would buy it.
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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