Wednesday, 28 January 2009

One of the books that made it onto my seemingly never ending reading list was The Productive Programmer by Neal Ford. At only 190 pages it doesn't look too intimidating to start with and on closer inspection you find this is indeed the case. Neal Ford has produced a well written text that spares waffle and gets straight to the point. It's a book that is very easy to read and difficult to put down.

The book is split into two with part one focusing one mechanics and provides examples of some very useful tools such as JediConcentrate and Launchy. However I must admit I prefer Ghoster as apposed to JediConcentrate for aiding concentration. Along side recommending tools the first section also champions the benefits of scripting languages such as Groovy, PowerShell and Ruby, he gives some interesting examples of splitting SQL files and automating various other tasks. However I personally would stress the need to be compident with regular expressions along with a scripting language.

Some of the examples in the second section give examples in Java this could lead to the book being seen as a Java orientated book, however nothing could be further from the truth. This books contains lots of useful advice that will be of use to all developers. There is a discussion of SLAP (Single Level of Abstraction Principle) which can be applied to all Object-Orientated languages. Other topics include test-driven development, static code analysis and the idea of good citizenship, all of which if nothing else should plant a seed and get you thinking.

The author has a wiki for the book at http://productiveprogrammer.com. The wiki and the book is to raise awareness of how developers can be more productive and allow much smarter people to carry out the conversation. We're all familiar with the acynom YAGNI only in the case of this book it should read You are Going to Need It.