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Top pair-programming books mentioned on stackoverflow.com

Working Effectively with Legacy Code

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.

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Test-driven Development

Kent Beck

Write clean code that works with the help of this groundbreaking software method. Example-driven teaching is the basis of Beck's step-by-step instruction that will have readers using TDD to further their projects.

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XUnit Test Patterns

Gerard Meszaros

Improves software return on investment by teaching the reader how to refactor test code and reduce or prevent crippling test maintenance.

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Extreme Programming Explained

Kent Beck, Cynthia Andres

An updated look at the roots, philosophies, stories, and myths associated with Extreme Programming (XP).

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Pair Programming Illuminated

Laurie Williams, Robert R. Kessler

Written as instruction for pair programming newbies, with practical improvement tips for those experienced with the concept, this guide explores the operational aspects and unique fundamentals of pair programming; information such as furniture set-up, pair rotation, and weeding out bad pairs.

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The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Patrick M. Lencioni

In The Five Dysfunctions of a Team Patrick Lencioni once again offers a leadership fable that is as enthralling and instructive as his first two best-selling books, The Five Temptations of a CEO and The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive. This time, he turns his keen intellect and storytelling power to the fascinating, complex world of teams. Kathryn Petersen, Decision Tech's CEO, faces the ultimate leadership crisis: Uniting a team in such disarray that it threatens to bring down the entire company. Will she succeed? Will she be fired? Will the company fail? Lencioni's utterly gripping tale serves as a timeless reminder that leadership requires as much courage as it does insight. Throughout the story, Lencioni reveals the five dysfunctions which go to the very heart of why teams even the best ones-often struggle. He outlines a powerful model and actionable steps that can be used to overcome these common hurdles and build a cohesive, effective team. Just as with his other books, Lencioni has written a compelling fable with a powerful yet deceptively simple message for all those who strive to be exceptional team leaders.

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