Fit for Developing Software: Framework for Integrated Tests Paperback – Jun 29 2005
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From the Inside Flap
Fitness, agility, and balance apply as much to software development as they do to athletic activities. We can admire the movements of a highly skilled dancer, skier, or athlete. Gracefulness comes from wasting no energy on unnecessary tension or balance recovery, so that effort can be focused exactly where it is needed, exactly when it is needed. The expert is continuously making small adjustments to stay aligned and in balance. Agile responses to unexpected changes distinguish the expert from the nonexpert, as their rebalancing adjustments are fluid and subtle and go unnoticed by nonexperts.
Injury, pain, distractions, and poor concentration can wreck balance, reducing the expert's ability to respond well in a focused way. Much more effort is required to perform even at a substandard level.
A high degree of fitness and practice is needed in order to build the required concentration, balance, agility, and focused power. This, inevitably, is a process of refinement over time, with attention given to more subtle aspects of risk assessment and response as expertise increases.
The achievements of athletes have continued to improve over time, sometimes through changes that break assumptions about the activity or how best to train. Big changes are often met with skepticism but will slowly become accepted as the norm as they prove their worth.
When we look at the efforts of most software developers, we see a lot of energy being wasted. In the rush to get software completed, there is often little time to reflect on how to improve the way we do things, how to get that special fitness, balance, and agility that allow us to be graceful in our intellectual efforts in order to achieve inspired results with less effort.
We get unbalanced when we have to fix old bugs, losing flow. We often have to speculate about what's needed, and feedback is too slow. Our software becomes less than elegant and is difficult to change, with tensions and stresses building up in us and in our software.
This book is intended to help improve your fitness and agility in two areas of software development where we can make huge improvements to current practice. First, improving communication between the people who need the software and the people who develop it, as well as show you how to express the business rules that are at the heart of a software solution. Second, how to use automated testing to provide immediate and effective feedback so we can maintain balance and agility and avoid "injury."
The book also questions some common assumptions about the way in which software is developed. But we don't expect that you'll make a big leap of faith: We start with current practice and show how you make small yet effective improvements.
Just like the dancer and the athlete, you will have to do more than simply read about how to do this. It is also necessary to practice.
From the Back Cover
"The unique thing aboutFit for Developing Softwareis the way it addresses the interface between customers/testers/analysts and programmers. All will find something in the book about how others wish to be effectively communicated with. A Fit book for programmers wouldn't make sense because the goal is to create a language for business-oriented team members. A Fit book just for businesspeople wouldn't make sense because the programmers have to be involved in creating that language. The result is a book that should appeal to a wide range of people whose shared goal is improving team communications."
--Kent Beck, Three Rivers Institute
"Even with the best approaches, there always seemed to be a gap between the software that was written and the software the user wanted. With Fit we can finally close the loop. This is an important piece in the agile development puzzle."
--Dave Thomas, coauthor ofThe Pragmatic Programmer
"Ward and Rick do a great job in eschewing the typical, overly complicated technology trap by presenting a simple, user-oriented, and very usable technology that holds fast to the agile principles needed for success in this new millennium."
--Andy Hunt, coauthor ofThe Pragmatic Programmer
"Florida Tech requires software engineering students to take a course in programmer testing, which I teach. Mugridge and Cunningham have written a useful and instructive book, which will become one of our course texts."
--Cem Kaner, Professor of Software Engineering, Florida Institute of Technology
"Rick and Ward continue to amaze me. Testing business rules is a fundamentally hard thing that has confounded many, and yet these two have devised a mechanism that cuts to the essence of the problem. In this work they offer a simple, thorough, approachable, and automatable means of specifying and testing such rules."
--Grady Booch, IBM Fellow
"By providing a simple, effective method for creating and automating tabular examples of requirements, Fit has dramatically improved how domain experts, analysts, testers, and programmers collaborate to produce quality software."
--Joshua Kerievsky, founder, Industrial Logic, Inc., and author ofRefactoring to Patterns
"Agile software development relies on collaborating teams, teams of customers, analysts, designers, developers, testers, and technical writers. But, how do they work together? Fit is one answer, an answer that has been thoroughly thought through, implemented, and tested in a number of situations. Primavera has significantly stabilized its product lineusing Fit, and I'm so impressed by the results that I'm suggesting it to everyone I know. Rick and Ward, in their everlasting low-key approach, have again put the keystone in the arch of software development. Congratulations and thanks from the software development community."
--Ken Schwaber, Scrum Alliance, Agile Alliance, and codeveloper of Scrum
"Fit is the most important new technique for understanding and communicating requirements. It's a revolutionary approach to bringing experts and programmers together. This book describes Fit comprehensively and authoritatively. If you want to produce great software, you need to read this book."
--James Shore, Principal, Titanium I.T. LLC
"There are both noisy and quiet aspects of the agile movement and it is often the quieter ones that have great strategic importance. This book by Ward and Rick describes one of these absolutely vital, but often quieter, practices--testing business requirements. A renewed focus on testing, from test-driven development for developers to story testing for customers, is one of the agile community's great contributions to our industry, and this book will become one of the cornerstones of that contribution. Stories are done-done (ready for release) when they have been tested by both developers (done) and customers (done-done). The concepts and practices involved in customer story testing are critical to project success and wonderfully portrayed in this book. Buy it. Read it. Keep it handy in your day-to-day work."
--Jim Highsmith, Director of Agile Software Development & Project Management Practice, Cutter Consortium
"I have been influenced by many books, but very few have fundamentally changed how I think and work. This is one of those books. The ideas in this book describe not just how to use a specific framework in order to test our software, but also how we should communicate about and document that software. This book is an excellent guide to a tool and approach that will fundamentally improve how you think about and build software--as it has done for me."
--Mike Cohn, Mountain Goat Software, author ofUser Stories Applied
"Fit is a tool to help whole teams grow a common language for describing and testing the behavior of software. This books fills a critical gap--helping both product owners and programmers learn what Fit is and how to use it well."
--Bill Wake, independent consultant
"Over the past several years, I've been using Fit and FitNesse with development teams. They are not only free and powerful testing tools, they transform development by making the behavior of applications concrete, verifiable, and easily observable. The only thing that has been missing is a good tutorial and reference. Rick Mugridge and Ward Cunningham'sFit For Developing Softwarefits the bill. Essentially, two books in one, it is a very readable guide that approaches Fit from technical and nontechnical perspectives. This book is a significant milestone and it will make higher software quality achievable for many teams."
--Michael C. Feathers, author ofWorking Effectively with Legacy Code, and consultant, Object Mentor, Inc.
"Wow! This is the book I wish I had on my desk when I did my first story test-driven development project. It explains the philosophy behind the Fit framework and a process for using it to interact with the customers to help define the requirements of the project. It makes Fit so easy and approachable that I wrote my first FitNesse tests before I even I finished the book.
"For the price of one book, you get two, written by the acknowledged thought leaders of Fit testing. The first is written for the nonprogramming customer. It lays out how you can define the functionality of the system you are building (or modifying) using tabular data. It introduces a range of different kinds of 'test fixtures' that interpret the data and exercise the system under test. While it is aimed at a nontechnical audience, even programmers will find it useful because it also describes the process for interacting with the customers, using the Fit tests as the focal point of the interaction.
"The second 'book' is targeted to programmers. It describes how to build each kind of fixture described in the first book. It also describes many other things that need to be considered to have robust automated tests--things like testing without a database to make tests run faster. A lot of the principles will be familiar to programmers who have used any member of the xUnit family of unit testing frameworks. Rick and Ward show you how to put it into practice in a very easy-to-read narrative style that uses a fictitious case study to lead you through all the practices and decisions you are likely to encounter."
--Gerard Meszaros, ClearStream Consulting
The Fit open source testing framework brings unprecedented agility to the entire development process.Fit for Developing Softwareshows you how to use Fit to clarify business rules, express them with concrete examples, and organize the examples into test tables that drive testing throughout the software lifecycle. Using a realistic case study, Rick Mugridge and Ward Cunningham--the creator of Fit--introduce each of Fit's underlying concepts and techniques, and explain how you can put Fit to work incrementally, with the lowest possible risk. Highlights include
- Integrating Fit into your development processes
- Using Fit to promote effective communication between businesspeople, testers, and developers
- Expressing business rules that define calculations, decisions, and business processes
- Connecting Fit tables to the system with "fixtures" that check whether tests are actually satisfied
- Constructing tests for code evolution, restructuring, and other changes to legacy systems
- Managing the quality and evolution of tests
- A companion Web site (http://fit.c2.com/) that offers additional resources and source code
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Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The book claimes that Fitnesse should be used to test the business code (model code), not the GUI. And I certainly agree, that this it much more easy to do and maintain, but as a tester I know that most of the big bugs do not occure simply on a method level (say a wrong calculation), but lie in the integration of modules. So, depending on the framework, most bugs will not be found by those tests!
The book uses some trivial examples. For those, Fitnesse works fine and is easy to use. Most tests, however require complex objects in a certain state to work on. It is the creation and maintenance of this objects, which is the tough thing. So, like usually, the trivial examples are hardly helpful.
The book does not give a structured introduction on how to actually use Fitnesse (as a WiKi). For a beginner, it can be very confusing, how to even create a page, why the TEST button appears on some pages, but not on others, etc.
Conclusion: The book does give a good overview on how to create tests with Fitnesse. Wether Fitnesse itself can help you will depend largely on things not covered in the book, though. It does not offer more than the online docu, but it gives more detail and is better structured.
Ah, and I really liked the layout of the book (green color, many links to other chapters, short chapters).
This book starts out with the very basics then progresses into a case study. The first 180 pages are meant for anyone-programmers, tester, business person, etc. This first part is extremely valuable as it helps you see how Fit can benefit your develop projects. The next 150 or so pages are meant for those with a programming background and show how to extend Fit by writing and using custom fixtures. Even though I'd written a fair number of fixtures already, I learned a lot from this section.
The book is well-written and easy to read. Chapters include periodic Q&A sections and each ends with a set of exercises. I didn't do all the exercises but I did some and they are very helpful. I highly recommend this book. You will not be disappointed.
The "Questions & Answers" sections scattered throughout the book contain some of the most valuable gems. Here are a couple of examples related to ActionFixture:
* From Chapter 10, p 73, "Some action rows have a keyword in the last cell. Is that optional?"
* From Chapter 22, p 193, "Why does the actor have to be a subclass of fit.Fixture?
You'll have to buy the book to see the answers, though!
I wrote of a conversion of FIT to the Objective-C language -- with a bit of help from Ward. Still I found real value in having a book that speaks from the customer perspective and delves into creating FIT tables from that perspective.
The book is easy to read. It is a good book for a programmer to show their boss, or to circulate to the non-programmer staff. Developers should thumb through the book to become familiar with the topics, but use the online wikis to develop a serious understanding.
The book is organized so that some sections are aimed at the programmers automating the tests, while other sections are aimed at everyone involved in writing the tests, including non-technical business folks. There are plenty of easy-to-follow real-world examples.
As a tester, this book has helped me improve my test design, and given me a bigger box of tools to use. My programmer teammates refer to the book on a daily basis, getting tips that are taking our FitNesse tests to a new level of usability and effectiveness.
If you're a tester, a programmer, or their customer, join the revolution. Download Fit or FitNesse, and buy this book!
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