“Growing Object-Oriented Software, Guided by Tests” (Book Review)

“Growing Object-Oriented Software, Guided by Tests” by Steve Freeman and Nat Pryce has been on my to-read list ever since I saw Steve at 33rd Degree 2011. Even though I did not really like the presentations, somehow I became intrigued enough.

The first two parts of the book explain what object-oriented programming and test-driven-development are. It explains the “tell, don’t ask”, encapsulation and information hiding, some pieces of design and architecture (ports and adapters). It contains a short explanation of what TDD is (the basic 3-phase cycle known to everyone) and extends it beyond unit tests, up to blackbox integration tests.

The third part is a long case study – writing a real, nontrivial application with Swing GUI, XMPP and interesting domain. The study is pretty long, and even though I’m not a fan of them this one is just perfect. It’s very easy to follow, taking small well-explained steps. It’s a rich and very practical example of TDD walking hands in hands with elegant object-oriented design.

The fourth part is a long and interesting catalog of “test smells” – shows the links between test complexity and readability and quality of covered production code; tells how to write elegant, useful tests and assertions; gives advice on how to write tests that won’t be too constraining in future; and more. The last part explores some practical sides of testing in multithreaded environment and around persistence.

I loved the book! It’s an awesome piece of work that covers so many topics in such a clear, deep and interesting way that I would call it a must read for everyone. It’s a great book on testing, but not just that. It shows where testing fits in the software development process and explains the very important link to object-oriented design. It’s full of small, hidden gems (not only about software testing itself) that I will remember for a long time. At the same time it’s also very practical, pragmatic and concise.

I think it has much to offer to people of any skill level (perhaps except for novice). Even though I have been doing OOP and TDD for years, I really enjoyed it and I believe I learned much new stuff.

If you haven’t done so yet, do yourself a favor and go read it now!

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