Tuesday, December 28, 2010

PRACTICUM: Selenium 1.0 Testing Tools

One of the books that I did a review for a couple of months ago was related to the software audio editing tool Audacity, and was published by Packt Publishing in the United Kingdom. Now Packt has contacted me directly and asked if I'd be willing to do a review of one of their newer titles, David Burns "Selenium 1.0 Testing Tools". To this end, they are sending me a paperback version of the book and it should arrive within the next few days.

This it interesting in that it has given me a chance to do something  a little different with my book reviews once again. My "Wednesday Book Reviews" have generally been quick summaries and a reason for the thumbs up. As veteran readers might know, I don't print reviews of books that I think poorly of. If you see that a book has been reviewed, it automatically means I thought highly enough about it to write about it. If I haven't done a review on a book, it means one of three things:

  1. I haven't read it.
  2. I'm in the process of reading it (and really, some books take a long time to get through; there's a reason why I haven't posted a review yet for William Perry's "Effective Methods for Software Testing" :) ).
  3. I've read the book, and decided I didn't like it.

Additionally, I have typically shied away from specific technologies, because many people may never use that particular technology, and I like my reviews to be consistent and apply to all of my readers whenever possible. I've since come to realize that there is space for focused technology books, since one of the more common search terms related to my site is "Audacity", and of course, the most oft returned listing is my review of "Getting Started with Audacity 1.3".

So what can I provide that would be interesting? How about an actual walk-through of what the book recommends? A practical review of the steps and exercises, and my reaction to them and what I learned in the process? This would be different from the reviews I'd done in the past, and I feel it would be a fair and interesting way to review the title as well. Therefore, I'm going to start a new book review section called TESTHEAD PRACTICUM. This would also address other books I have reviewed in a shorter form, but have said "now, this book reads well, but I can't really review it completely because I don't have the time to go through everything and see how well it actually works". A Beginner's Guide to a technology can do exactly that! It's one thing to say that the book is easy and enjoyable to read, but how about what it imparts in practical working knowledge?

Selenium 1.0 Testing Tools will be my first experiment with this process. It will be a longer form review, along with a summary review at the end. It will not be as long or as specifically details as the TESTHEAD BOOK CLUB entries, because those are designed to do a deep dive on each chapter, and that may be overkill for what Packt would like to see or use.

So please join me in this new adventure, one that I hope will be instructional for all of us.


Phil said...

Nice idea - I for one will be sure to be following along

Joe said...

I'm curious. Why not a quick review of books you have read, but didn't like?

It seems that would provide as valuable service for others as do your "positive" book reviews.

Michael Larsen said...

Hi Joe.

I think because generally I'm selective in my titles. I tend to do a lot of research up front for titles I'm intereted in reading, and also, there are a number of titles that I got maybe two or three chapters into, decided "meh!" and stopped reading it. If I push through a book, I'm generally going to do so because I've found someting of value in it.

But you raise a good point, why didn't I finish them? What stopped me from continuing with them? Hmmm... let me mull this one for awhile, it might make for a good post or rant :).