|Java Tools For Exteme Programming: Mastering Open Source Tools including Ant, JUnit and Cactus|
|author||Richard Hightower & Nicholas Lesiecki|
|publisher||Wiley Computer Publishing|
|summary||Practical introduction to Java tools for Extreme Programming, with an emphasis on immediate results rather than deep theory.|
What sets Extreme Programming apart from most other Agile Technologies, in my opinion at least, is that it has provided practical, easy-to-use tools to support its way of working. Most of these tools (Ant, JUnit etc) are Open Source and freely available. However popular these tools have been with the Open Source and Extreme Programming communities, it has arguably been difficult to introduce them to traditional IT development environments. This has been primarily due to the problems of justifying spending time on 'playing' with something and the difficulties of retro-fitting new tools to an existing development environment (think projects of 150+ people which have been releasing for 5-10 years for some idea of the potential problems).
It's worth noting that when embarking on a new, large-scale project it's very difficult to find a book discussing the issues of controlled builds, integration and deployment in practical terms. The most valuable aspect of Java Tools for eXteme Programming is that it's alone in its market niche.
The book is mainly useful as (a) an introduction to the various building and continuous testing tools out there and (b) a tutorial to getting them setup and working on your computer. As the authors note, there's a critical period where the user must get some result after playing with the tool for a short period of time or just give it up as 'too difficult.'
From a technical standpoint the book is very readable, but it doesn't tackle any one subject in great depth. It certainly provides enough information to get you up and running, and also, perhaps more valuably, illustrates how to integrate the tools together. It's an excellent primer for those who want to use the tools but are unsure of how exactly to start.
What's covered? Here are the chapter headings:
- Introduction and Key Concepts
- Introduction to Extreme Programming
- J2EE Deployment Concepts
- Example applications
- Mastering the Tools
- Continuous integration with Ant
- Building Java Applications with Ant
- Building J2EE applications with Ant
- Unit testing with JUnit
- Testing Container Services with Cactus
- Functional Testing with HttpUnit
- Measuring Application Performance with JMeter
- Load Testing with JUnitPerf
- API and Tag Reference
- Ant Tag Reference
- Ant API Reference
- JUnit API Reference
- Cactus API Reference
- HttpUnit API Reference
If you use some of these tools already will you learn anything? Probably -- I personally have been using JUnit to test EJBs for almost nine months now but didn't know about JUnitPerf or Cactus.
Should you buy it? If you're new to the tools, then Yes. If you work in a professional but traditional IT shop, I'd buy one for the group (I have). It'd be particularly useful when dealing with management and proposing changes to working processes, or when trying to bring co-workers up to speed and sell them the benefits of agile ways of working.
You can visit the book's website at Wiley. You can purchase the Jave Tools For Extreme Programming from bn.com. Want to see your own review here? Just read the book review guidelines, then use Slashdot's handy submission form.