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Automated testing is a cornerstone of agile development. An effective testing strategy will deliver new functionality more aggressively, accelerate user feedback, and improve quality. However, for many developers, creating effective automated tests is a unique and unfamiliar challenge.

xUnit Test Patterns is the definitive guide to writing automated tests using xUnit, the most popular unit testing framework in use today. Agile coach and test automation expert Gerard Meszaros describes 68 proven patterns for making tests easier to write, understand, and maintain. He then shows you how to make them more robust and repeatable--and far more cost-effective.

Loaded with information, this book feels like three books in one. The first part is a detailed tutorial on test automation that covers everything from test strategy to in-depth test coding. The second part, a catalog of 18 frequently encountered "test smells," provides trouble-shooting guidelines to help you determine the root cause of problems and the most applicable patterns. The third part contains detailed descriptions of each pattern, including refactoring instructions illustrated by extensive code samples in multiple programming languages.

Topics covered include

  • Writing better tests--and writing them faster

  • The four phases of automated tests: fixture setup, exercising the system under test, result verification, and fixture teardown

  • Improving test coverage by isolating software from its environment using Test Stubs and Mock Objects

  • Designing software for greater testability

  • Using test "smells" (including code smells, behavior smells, and project smells) to spot problems and know when and how to eliminate them

  • Refactoring tests for greater simplicity, robustness, and execution speed

This book will benefit developers, managers, and testers working with any agile or conventional development process, whether doing test-driven development or writing the tests last. While the patterns and smells are especially applicable to all members of the xUnit family, they also apply to next-generation behavior-driven development frameworks such as RSpec and JBehave and to other kinds of test automation tools, including recorded test tools and data-driven test tools such as Fit and FitNesse.

Visual Summary of the Pattern Language 




Refactoring a Test

PART I: The Narratives
Chapter 1 A Brief Tour
Chapter 2 Test Smells
Chapter 3 Goals of Test Automation
Chapter 4 Philosophy of Test Automation
Chapter 5 Principles of Test Automation
Chapter 6 Test Automation Strategy
Chapter 7 xUnit Basics
Chapter 8 Transient Fixture Management
Chapter 9 Persistent Fixture Management
Chapter 10 Result Verification
Chapter 11 Using Test Doubles
Chapter 12 Organizing Our Tests
Chapter 13 Testing with Databases
Chapter 14 A Roadmap to Effective Test Automation
PART II: The Test Smells 
Chapter 15 Code Smells
Chapter 16 Behavior Smells
Chapter 17 Project Smells
PART III: The Patterns 
Chapter 18 Test Strategy Patterns
Chapter 19 xUnit Basics Patterns
Chapter 20 Fixture Setup Patterns
Chapter 21 Result Verification Patterns
Chapter 22 Fixture Teardown Patterns
Chapter 23 Test Double Patterns
Chapter 24 Test Organization Patterns
Chapter 25 Database Patterns
Chapter 26 Design-for-Testability Patterns
Chapter 27 Value Patterns
PART IV: Appendixes
Appendix A Test Refactorings  
Appendix B xUnit Terminology 
Appendix C xUnit Family Members
Appendix D Tools
Appendix E Goals and Principles
Appendix F Smells, Aliases, and Causes
Appendix G Patterns, Aliases, and Variations


Subscriber Reviews

Average Rating: 4.25 out of 5 rating Based on 4 Ratings

"Very detailed and thorough" - by jcoughlin on 24-OCT-2012
Reviewer Rating: 1 star rating2 star rating3 star rating4 star rating5 star rating
Provides a very thorough overview of xUnit testing and how xUnit testing relates to the theory.  Considering how much material is covered (read: MASSIVE amount of material), I was pleasantly surprised to find that the chapters are very concise and "accessible".

However, it accomplishes this informative brevity by aggressively boiling ideas down into jargon, and that make for a rather jarring reading experience.

One also needs to bring their own experience and their own curiosity to this book; otherwise it is definitely a dry experience.

My conclusion: This is an excellent, informed reference.

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"Detailed coverage of unit-testing with xUnit" - by Christopher on 20-APR-2011
Reviewer Rating: 1 star rating2 star rating3 star rating4 star rating5 star rating
This is book is a worth-while read if you want to get deep into patterns and approaches of achieving unit testing with xUnit.  This book is very detailed, covering the different ways you can test, the types of fixtures and tests you can write, how to recognized and avoid test "smells", how to organize test methods, test classes, suites, test utility methods, etc.  In particular, I found the discussion of persistent, shared, etc. test fixtures quite illuminating.

I will say that if you already have an decent understanding of unit testing with some xUnit framework, much of the content you will be able to skip over or just skim.  This is because in many ways the book can be "too detailed".  But then, that detail is necessary for readers with no previous knowledge or experience.  Nevertheless, there are insights in the text for those with previous knowledge of varying levels.

Overall, the book is a good read.  Because of the detail, it can be a bit dry, but just take it slow.  It is worth the time.  It is probably best not to read it straight through, but rather to read a bit, try out some stuff in practice, read some more, and so on.

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