6 Best Books on Unit Testing and TDD in 2023

TDD has a concept called red-green-refactor. Red represents a failed test while green represents a passed test.

TDD has a concept called red-green-refactor. Red represents a failed test while green represents a passed test.

The growth of object-oriented programming has influenced the way programmers approach software testing. Tests are essential for programmers.

Unit Testing and Test Driven Development are the key techniques every software developer should practice to ensure the quality of their code. Test-driven development (TDD) is a programming technique that enables developers to create proper specifications about how their code should be written and implemented. 

To help you in selecting a well-structured and latest book for learning Unit Testing and Test-driven development, this article covers unit testing and test-driven development books that will help you improve your code and code architecture drastically.


Why Learn Unit Testing and TDD?

Let’s take a closer look at why you should learn unit testing and Test Driven Development methodology, and explore the main gains your project will get from this approach implemented.

  • Build confidence: Testing helps to build your confidence in your system. The code that you will get will be maintainable, flexible, and easy to extend.

  • Improve Code Quality: Unit testing and TDD maximize your project quality and delivery speed by identifying bad code early in the development process.

  • Save Effort: Errors in software are inevitable and often very costly. Testing enables programmers to catch more of their own bugs before deploying their code. Thus, it saves time and costs in the long run.

  • Get Better Organized: It allows developers to take time to specify what their projects should be able to do before writing any code.


What Makes The Best Unit Testing and TDD?

Here are our criteria for the selection of the books:

  • Use clear, precise, and easy-to-understand language

  • Thoroughly teach and explain the latest Unit Testing and Test-driven development concepts

  • Contain exercises, examples, and practice problems for hands-on experience

  • Enable to hold the attention of readers

  • Well-structured and friendly toward self-taught programmers


Best Books on Unit Testing and TDD

Here are the reviews on the best and latest Unit Testing and Test-driven Development books for beginners and advanced programmers. 


1. Best book for foundations: Unit Testing Principles, Practices, and Patterns

Unit Testing Principles, Practices, and Patterns by Vladimir Khorikov teaches you to design and write tests that target key areas of your code including the domain model. You will learn to develop professional-quality tests and test suites and integrate testing throughout the application life cycle.

The book refined your existing unit tests by implementing modern best practices. It helps you to safely automate your testing process to save time and money. The book serves as a clearly written and comprehensive guide that will enable you to learn

  • Universal guidelines to assess any unit test

  • Testing to identify and avoid anti-patterns

  • Refactoring tests along with the production code

  • Using integration tests to verify the whole system

The book is divided into four parts and eleven chapters. The topic covered in the book are: 

Part 1 The Bigger Picture

  • Chapter 1 talks about the goal of unit testing

  • Chapter 2 discusses what a unit test is

  • Chapter 3  covers the anatomy of a unit test

Part 2 Making Your Tests Work For You

  • Chapter 4 covers the four pillars of a good unit test

  • Chapter 5  talks about Mocks and test fragility

  • Chapter 6 covers Styles of unit testing

  • Chapter 7 covers Refactoring toward valuable unit tests

Part 3 Integration Testing

  • Chapter 8 covers integration testing

  • Chapter 9 talks about Mocking best practices

  • Chapter 10  talks about Testing the database

Part 4 Unit Testing Anti-patterns

  • Chapter 11 covers Unit testing anti-patterns

All the examples are written in C# and can easily be applied to any language.


2. Best book for Python coders: Test-Driven Development with Python: Obey the Testing Goat: Using Django, Selenium, and JavaScript

Test-Driven Development with Python by Harry Percival aims to teach Test Driven Development for web programming. It uses a concrete example of the development of a website to explain the TDD methodology and how it applies to building web applications.

This is a comprehensive book with every section written in a well-structured and easy to understand manner. The contents are divided into three parts and 26 chapters.

Part 1: The Basics of TDD and Django

  • Chapter 1 talks about getting Django Set Up using a Functional Test

  • Chapter 2 talks about extending Functional Test using the unittest Module

  • Chapter 3 covers testing a simple home page with unit tests

  • Chapter 4 discusses what we are doing with all these tests

  • Chapter 5 talks about Saving User Input: Testing the Database

  • Chapter 6 talks about Improving Functional Tests and ensuring isolation and removing Voodoo Sleeps

  • Chapter 7 talks about working incrementally

Part 2: Web Development Essentials

  • Chapter 8 covers Prettification and discusses Layout and Styling, and what to test about it

  • Chapter 9 talks about testing deployment using a staging site

  • Chapter 10 talks about getting to a production-ready deployment

  • Chapter 11 covers Automating Deployment with Fabric

  • Chapter 12 covers splitting tests into multiple files and a generic wait helper

  • Chapter 13 covers Validation at the Database Layer

  • Chapter 14 covers a Simple Form

  • Chapter 15 talks about more Advanced Forms

  • Chapter 16  talks about dipping toes into JavaScript

  • Chapter 17 talks about deploying new code

Part 3: More Advanced Topics

  • Chapter 18 covers User Authentication, Spiking and De-Spiking

  • Chapter 19 talks about using mocks to test external dependencies or reduce duplication

  • Chapter 20 covers Test Fixtures and a Decorator for Explicit Waits

  • Chapter 21 covers Server-Side Debugging

  • Chapter 22 talks about Finishing "My Lists": Outside-In TDD

  • Chapter 23 covers Test Isolation, and "Listening to Your Tests"

  • Chapter 24 covers Continuous Integration (CI)

  • Chapter 25 talks about the Token Social Bit and the Page Pattern

  • Chapter 26 talks about Fast Tests, Slow Tests, and Hot Lava

This book is a hands-on guide that demonstrates the practical advantages of test-driven development (TDD) with Python. You’ll learn how to write and run tests before building each part of your app. If you’re someone who likes to learn by doing, then this book is for you!


3. Best book for React programmers: Mastering React Test-Driven Development

Mastering React Test-Driven Development by Daniel Irvine helps you to learn the TDD process using the React framework. The book guides you to build complex, real-world applications with a pragmatic approach to TDD.

As you go through the book, you will learn how to:

  • Build test-driven applications using React 16.9+ and Jest

  • Design complete web applications using a variety of HTML input elements

  • Understand the different types of test double and when to apply them

  • Test-drive the integration of libraries such as React Router, Redux, and Relay (GraphQL)

  • Get to know when to be pragmatic and how to apply TDD shortcuts

  • Trial interaction with browser APIs including fetch and WebSockets

  • Use Cucumber.js and Puppeteer to build BDD-style acceptance tests for your applications

  • Develop and test async Redux code using redux-saga and expect-redux

Each topic is covered clearly and concisely and is packed with the details you need to learn to be truly effective. The chapters in the book cover the following:

  • First Steps with Test-Driven Development

  • Test-driving Data Input with React

  • Exploring Test Doubles

  • Creating a User Interface

  • Humanizing Forms

  • Filtering and Searching Data

  • Test-driving React Router

  • Test-driving Redux

  • Test-driving GraphQL

  • Building a Logo Interpreter

  • Adding Animation

  • Working with WebSockets

  • Writing Your First Acceptance Test

  • Adding Features Guided by Acceptance Tests

  • Understanding TDD in the Wider Testing Landscape

If you want to learn how to master React Test-Driven Development in 2021, then this book is for you!


More books you may like:


4. Best book for Swift Coders: iOS Unit Testing by Example: XCTest Tips and Techniques Using Swift

iOS Unit Testing by Example by Jon Reid is a complete guide about iOS Testing. You will learn tips and techniques to avoid the most common mistakes Swift programmers make with the XCTest framework. The book is organized into three parts.

  • Part 1: Foundations: It covers the foundations of using XCTest with iOS apps.

  • Part 2: iOS Testing Tips and Techniques: It is a grab bag of techniques for testing iOS specifics.

  • Part 3: Using Your New Power: This part demonstrates what a solid set of unit tests empowers you to do.

The book is well structured, from the more basic parts of iOS all the way to TDD and Refactoring techniques. There are tons of great practical examples with code and explanations. the book uses the well-established declarative paradigm of UIKit.

Here's what you will get from the book:

  • Use Xcode’s built-in test framework XCTest and Swift to get rapid feedback on all your code, including legacy code. 

  • Learn the tricks and techniques of testing all iOS code, especially view controllers (UIViewControllers), which are critical to iOS apps. 

  • Learn to isolate and replace dependencies in legacy code written without tests. 

  • Practice safe refactoring that makes these tests possible, and watch all your changes get verified quickly and automatically. 

  • Make even the boldest code changes with complete confidence.

Overall, this book is the most comprehensive and current reference for iOS unit testing! Now, you can reshape the design of your code quickly, with less risk and less fear.


5. Best book for Java Coders: Pragmatic Unit Testing in Java 8 with JUnit

Pragmatic Unit Testing in Java 8 with JUnit by Jeff Langr, Andy Hunt, and Dave Thomas is a quick introduction to unit testing. The book teaches you how to write and run easily maintained unit tests in JUnit with confidence. 

As you go through the book, you will learn:

  • How to craft your unit tests to minimize your effort in maintaining them.

  • How to use unit tests to help keep your system clean.

  • How to test the tough stuff.

  • Memorable mnemonics to help you remember what's important when writing unit tests.

  • How to help your team reap and sustain the benefits of unit testing.

The book addresses the hard things like mock objects, databases, multithreading, and getting started with automated unit testing. There are tons of detailed examples on how unit testing with JUnit works in the real world. This book is an excellent resource for those new to the unit testing game.


6. Best book for .NET developers: C# and .NET Core Test Driven Development

C# and .NET Core Test Driven Development by Ayobami Adewole guides developers to create robust, production-ready C# 7 and .NET Core applications through the practice of TDD process. You will learn the different stages of the TDD life cycle, basics of TDD, best practices, and anti-patterns. 

As you go through the book, you will learn how to:

  • Write flexible, maintainable, and verifiable code for .NET Core

  • Write testable code using SOLID principles and dependency injections

  • Recognize the characteristics of a good unit test

  • Structure and group your unit test

  • Use mock objects to handle dependencies

  • Set up an end-to-end continuous integration process

The book includes the following chapters:

  • Exploring Test-driven Development

  • Getting Started with .NET Core

  • Write Testable Code

  • .NET Core Unit Testing

  • Data Driven Unit Tests

  • Mocking Dependencies

  • Hosting Project and Configure for Continuous Integration

  • Create Continuous Integration Build Process

  • Testing and Packaging the Application

By the end of the book, you will be able to set up and use data-driven unit testing to verify your code. This book is for .NET developers who would like to build efficient applications by implementing principles of test-driven development.


More Ways to Learn Unit Testing and TDD

So these are the best Unit Testing and Test-driven Development books. They serve as a great resource for those who want to learn best through reading.

There are also a few online courses on the list that let you learn Unit Testing and Test-driven Development. Let's have a look at them:

  • Coursera: Test-Driven Development Overview course by Doug Purcell is a part of the Test-Driven Development Specialization. Here you will get both a full overview of what TDD is, when it can and can't be applied, and what its benefits are for practitioners and organizations.

  • Codecademy: Codecademy offers free and premium interactive courses. For more on Codecademy Pro, see my Codecademy Pro review.

    • Learn JavaScript Unit Testing helps you learn the fundamentals of test-driven development, and the popular JavaScript testing library, Mocha.

    • Learn React Testing teaches the React testing library, Jest. It teaches you the fundamentals of Jest and how to test asynchronous code and mock API calls.

    • Learn Testing for Web Development teaches how to test at the server level with Node and Express using the SuperTest library and Mongoose.

Thank you very much for reading this article to the end. As an intermediate programmer who is trying to build better code architecture, I’ve summarized the key points of Clean Code in this article. Hope to see you there.

Miranda Limonczenko

Miranda is the founder of Books on Code, with a mission to bring book-lover culture to programmers. Learn more by checking out Miranda on LinkedIn.


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