Saturday, August 25, 2007

Book Review: Fit for Developing Software

I’ve been really intrigued by Fitnesse and FIT (Framework for Integrated Tests) for some time now.  Fitnesse’s based on FIT and gives you a way to make tables for testing computations, queries, and workflows.  Those tables are hosted on a Wiki, and a web server plus a test runner enable you to tie the test tables to your software under test via some “Fixture” code you write.  It’s a unique concept, and lends itself to story-based development where you and your customers write up stories detailing how the systems works, then you run off and code up some fixtures and the system behind.

Some folks in the agile world are starting to become less enamored with it, but I think it’s got great potential as an enabler of communication between development teams and customers.  With that in mind, think about picking up a copy of “Fit for Developing Software: Framework for Integrated Tests by Rick Mugridge and Ward Cunningham.  (Prentice Hall Publishing, ISBN 0321269349.

The layout of this book is as unique as FIT/Fitnesse are themselves.  The book’s first half is targeted to business analysts and customers who team together to write up the stories for the system.  The second half targets developers who will write the fixtures to tie the tables to the system.  The stories and use cases are all well-done and, unlike too many other books, are on real-world situations.

There are detailed descriptions of the various fixtures supported by FIT with good examples of when you’d want to use them.  The different parts of the book tie together perfectly in that the story is covered in the beginning and the developer-related sections later in the book amplify on the foundation laid earlier.  I also like the Q&A portions scattered throughout the book.

The book’s tone and style compliment the approach of the book, keeping it light and easy to read while laying out the immense value of FIT.

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