August 2, 2005

Perl Testing: A Developer's Notebook-- Using Perl's Automated Testing Tools to Streamline Your Work

What can compare with the thrill of software testing? Perhaps balancing one's checkbook, but that's a task far removed from software development. Software testing generally falls pretty low on the list of topics that software developers find sexy. And this is unfortunate because good software testing can increase productivity, improve designs, ease maintenance burdens, and help satisfy customers, coworkers, and managers, and eventually result in more time and energy for pursuing the subjects that software developers do find sexy.

Most software developers are already aware of the benefits of testing. They may even know about the wide range of available modules that Perl offers for testing Perl and non-Perl programs. In short, as authors Ian Langworth and chromatic note in their new book, Perl Testing: A Developer's Notebook (O'Reilly, US $29.95), developers may know everything except where to start.

Perl has a strong history of automated tests. The earliest release of Per1 1.0 included a comprehensive test suite, and it has only improved since then. The beauty of it, however, is that you don't have to be a die-hard, free and open source software developer who lives, breathes, and dreams Perl to put these automated tests to use. You just have to want to do your job better.

"Of course, your main job probably isn't Perl all the time," Langworth and chromatic tell their readers. "It may be just one of a handful of good tools you use. That's fine. Learning how Perl's test tools work and how to put them together to solve all sorts of previously intractable problems can make you a better programmer in general. Besides, it's easy to use the Perl tools described here (and others that the future will bring) to handle all sorts of problems you encounter, even in other languages."

In the "all lab, no lecture" style of the Developer's Notebooks, readers are immediately immersed in hands-on exercises as they learn to:

  • Write basic Perl tests with ease and interpret the results
  • Apply special techniques and modules to improve tests
  • Tests databases and their data
  • Test web sites and web projects
  • Use the "Test Anything Protocol" that tests projects written in languages other than Perl
  • With today's increased workloads and short development cycles, unit tests are more vital to building high-quality software than ever before. Once mastered, the lessons in Perl Testing: A Developer's Notebook will help developers ensure low-level code correctness, reduce software development cycle time, and ease maintenance burdens.

    Additional Resources:

    Perl Testing: A Developer's Notebook
    Ian Langworth and chromatic
    ISBN: 0-596-10092-2, 180 pages, $29.95 US, $41.95 CA
    1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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