Nov 30, 2008

Short Review of "The Productive Programmer"

I have just finished reading the book "The Productive Programmer" by Neal Ford. For those it may concern; this is a short review of this book.

The first thing that struck me is that the book was not very thick. In my eyes this is a good thing. I have seen to many bloated books, that does have a problem to focus on the subject at hand. It appears that the book is inspired by the excellent book "The Pragmatic Programmer" by Andy Hunt & Dave Thomas. In fact it is recommended by Neal Ford.

The book consists of two parts; "Mechanics" & "Practice". The "Mechanics" part is about the tools you should use, and some tips & tricks on how to use them. For example, there are examples on how you could use Ant for more than building your software. The section "Focus" is the most interesting section. This is where you learn how to kill distractions, something along the lines of "Gettings Things Done" by David Allen.

The "Practice" part contains some best practices that Neal consider important to know, like Test Driven Design. I really like the YAGNI section, where YAGNI stands for "You Ain't Going To Need It". This part is all about a problem that many developers has encountered, namely speculative programming. For example, a class that contains "good to have"-methods, that is there to be future proof. The leason is; do not add anything that you do not need because "You Ain't Going To Need It". This is not something new, but it is still a common problem. Another section of the "Practice" part is the "Ancient Philosopheres". Neal uses ancient knowledge and adopts it software development. This is an unusual approach that I really liked.

If you want to be a more productive programmer, this is a good start. The book is short and easy to read. No fluff, just stuff kind of book.


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