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Growing Object Oriented Software, Guided by Tests

Nov 20, 2009

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Book reviews

Growing Object Oriented Software, Guided by Tests, by Steve Freeman and Nat Pryce is a TDD book, but unlike any other on the market today. First of all, the book deals mostly with advanced unit testing topics, such as designing tests for readability and mocking, and addresses many common stumbling points that people experience with unit testing a few years after they started their journey, such as applying unit testing in multi-threaded and asynchronous environments. Second, it explains and demonstrates in practice the dynamics of designing software through TDD, which is still a dark art for many programmers. And third, it gives the reader insight into Freeman’s and Pryce’s brains, which is why this book is a must-read for anyone serious about unit testing, even to people that have been doing it in the last century.

Given the authors’ backgrounds, it’s not surprising that this book has a lot to say about using mock object libraries. Mock objects are arguably the most misunderstood and misused concept in software development today, so this book should be a valuable resource for most software development teams. In the part dealing with mock objects you will find strategies for using them successfully for software design, guidelines what to mock and what not to mock and lots of examples how all that looks in code.

The book isn’t written in the usual imperative way (“you should use this because of…”) but reads much more as an experience report (“we use this because of”). This might be unusual at first but I really like it, as it puts the things into a much more different perspective. Many of the topics addressed by this book are quite controversial and the authors have wisely chosen the voice to avoid any notion of preaching. I found myself disagreeing with parts, especially around bundling acceptance and end-to-end testing together. However, as the material doesn’t preach but tell what the authors are thinking about, this did not bother me at all.

All in all, an excellent book. Grab a copy from Amazon now.

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