Book review: Working Effectively with Legacy Code

02/27/10

Book review: Working Effectively with Legacy Code

Working Effectively with Legacy Code by Michael Feathers is a key resource for anyone who has to work with less-than-pleasant code. Feathers defines legacy code as code without tests, and his main goal is to get automated tests in place. The last section of the book contains a catalog of dependency-breaking techniques to make this possible.

Examples are in Java, C++, C and C# (plus one in Ruby). C and C++ developers will likely find this book invaluable, as a number of the techniques target challenges in those languages.

The book is very readable, due in large part to the friendly writing style of Mr. Feathers. Experienced developers will smile (or perhaps shudder in remembrance) at section names like “The Case of the Irritating Global Dependency.” Most code examples are short and to the point, although it does help if the reader is conversant in at least one C-style language.

The text suffers from the occasional typographical error, which I found distracting.

Developers who do not see value in automated tests may find little of interest in this book. If you don’t fall into that category, order your copy today!


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