Sunday, January 25, 2015

Testing Python: Applying Unit Testing, TDD, BDD and Acceptance Testing

This is a long overdue book. Python has been steadily growing in popularity in multiple industry verticals over the past decade and the different sub-cultures have brought a variety of programming styles and methodologies to the language. As more and more Python code is powering today's production and mission-critical systems it becomes essential to ensure quality and reliability while maintaining efficient and agile development practices.

There has been a flurry of literature written in recent years about the overall benefits of agile methodologies and test-driven development. To a large extent, however, individual developers and teams have been left on their own to figure out how to put this philosophy to practice and extract maximum benefit from it in their trade.

David Sale's book alleviates this issue for Python developers by providing extremely pragmatic, timely and well-organized guidelines as well as many specific examples on how to approach the development and testing of complex systems in a way that amounts to building better software.This is not an academic work - it focuses exclusively on practical solutions to real-world industry problems.

Fairly short and to the point, the book mixes equal portions of justification and tutorial-style examples to work through.

The author has picked some of the best Python tools that are currently available for the various tasks at hand, but the reader will be well equipped to make their own choices once they understand the basic concepts.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Working with Peewee ORM

Wow, it's been a long while since I last posted something here. As always work and family have been taking a huge chunk of my free time - making it almost impossible to drop by to update this blog.

That said, I have been playing around with Peewee. It is a very small ORM (Object Relational Mapping) framework for working with your database. It is fits very well with things like Flask or Bottle Python frameworks. If you've spent time developing in Django you will feel very much at home. All the models and queries are basically the same except a few that make the Peewee stand out.

It currently supports PostgreSQL, MySQL and SQLite. Installation is a breeze - just use pip at a command prompt like so:

$pip install peewee

Here is a sample application that defines our models, creates the tables, inserts the data and prints them all out again.

################### Example of using the Peewee ORM ########################

from peewee import *
db = SqliteDatabase(app.db)
class BaseModel(Model):
    class Meta:

        database = db        
class Person(BaseModel):
    name = CharField(max_length=100, index=True)    
class StatusUpdate(BaseModel):

    person    = ForeignKeyField(Person, related_name='statuses')
    status  = TextField()
    timestamp = DateTimeField(, index=True)


#------ Inserting into our new tables --------
huey = Person(name='Nkem')

charlie =  Person.create(name='Charlie')
StatusUpdate.create(charlie, status='First status')

#----- querying -----

people =
for person in people:print
    for status in person.statuses.order_by(StatusUpdate.timestamp):
        print '*', status.status

For those who like to take control of their SQL, Peewee also allows you to run raw SQL commands. Here is an example of it:

db = SqliteDatabase(':memory:')

class Person(Model):
    name = CharField()
    class Meta:
        database = db

# let's pretend we want to do an "upsert", something that SQLite can
# do, but peewee cannot.
for name in ('charlie', 'mickey', 'huey'):
    db.execute_sql('REPLACE INTO person (name) VALUES (?)', (name,))

# now let's iterate over the people using our own query.
for person in Person.raw('select * from person'):
    print  # .raw() will return model instances.
I find it quite interesting mixing it with Flask. There are a few ideas I have and will explore them over the weekend and post the result here. There are tons of things you can do with this little framework - so go explore and see what you come up with. Good luck!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The New Speaking JavaScript

I bought this book despite having other general-purpose Javascript references because I've always really liked Dr. Rauschmeyer's precise writing style on his blog. This book does not disappoint. It's a clear, complete, and unambiguous reference to an sometimes misunderstood and often confusing language.

This is an authoritative guide to the language that doesn't complain or split hairs. There's a tremendous amount of information here presented by a subject matter expert who's adept at explaining sometimes difficult and nuanced concepts with remarkable clarity and terseness. He doesn't gloss over anything or make assumptions; he simply tells it like it is.

This isn't a difficult book to read, in fact it's refreshingly easy, but it's probably not going to be great for novices. It assumes a certain capability on the part of the reader. If you're starting from ground zero, I'd recommend something more conversational or introductory. But if you're looking for a brilliantly organized and researched in-depth reference, you won't be disappointed with Speaking Javascript.
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