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Michael C. Feathers
The average book on Agile software development describes a fairyland of greenfield projects, with wall-to-wall tests that run after every few edits, and clean & simple source code.
The average software project, in our industry, was written under some aspect of code-and-fix, and without automated unit tests. And we can't just throw this code away; it represents a significant effort debugging and maintaining. It contains many latent requirements decisions. Just as Agile processes are incremental, Agile adoption must be incremental too. No more throwing away code just because it looked at us funny.
Mike begins his book with a very diplomatic definition of "Legacy". I'l skip ahead to the undiplomatic version: Legacy code is code without unit tests.
Before cleaning that code up, and before adding new features and removing bugs, such code must be de-legacified. It needs unit tests.
To add unit tests, you must change the code. To change the code, you need unit tests to show how safe your change was.
The core of the book is a cookbook of recipes to conduct various careful attacks. Each presents a particular problem, and a relatively safe way to migrate the code towards tests.
Code undergoing this migration will begin to experience the benefits of unit tests, and these benefits will incrementally make new tests easier to write. These efforts will make aspects of a legacy codebase easy to change.
It's an unfortunate commentary on the state of our programming industry how much we need this book.
This volume is a handbook for enterprise system developers, guiding them through the intricacies and lessons learned in enterprise application development. It provides proven solutions to the everyday problems facing information systems developers.
In designing large-scale C++ applications, you are entering a dimension barely skimmed by most C++ books, particularly considering experience with small programming projects does not scale up to larger projects. This book unites high-level design concepts with specific C++ programming details to reveal practical methods for planning and implementing high-quality large C++ systems. You will learn the importance of physical design in large systems, how to structure your software as an acyclic hierarchy of components, and techniques for reducing link-time and compile-time dependencies. Then the book turns to logical design issues--architecting a component, designing a function, and implementing an object--all in the context of a large-project environment.