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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.
In this new edition of his popular title, Moving to VB .NET: Strategies, Concepts, and Code, Second Edition, Visual Basic guru Dan Appleman not only updates the book to include coverage of changes to Visual Basic .NET in Visual Studio .NET 2003, but he extends the areas most important to VB .NET programmers since its release. Topics such as .NET remoting, versioning, and object-oriented programming are further illuminated using Appleman's own personable and highly effective style. Appleman explains the whys and hows of the VB .NET technology features, and delves into the controversies around many of the choices. Evaluating VB .NET from the perspective of the developer, you'll learn to write high quality VB .NET code in well-designed applications. The author brings the same attention to technical detail and real-world attitude to this second edition as he has brought to all of his past books.