Saturday, May 17, 2008

Book Review: The ThoughtWorks Anthology

The ThoughtWorks Anthology, published by Pragmatic Press, ISBN 193435614X

This is a terrific book loaded up with 13 short, concise, golden essays from ThoughtWorks leaders like Martin Fowler, Neal Ford, etc.  Each topic covers something pretty vital for those of us who care about being somewhere near the top of our chosen craft.  Topics include solving the "last mile" problem between development and release, Ruby DSLs, polyglot programming, single-click deployment, and a bunch of other great reads.  Each article is extremely well-written and useful, but I found a subset of the book particularly compelling. 

Unfortunately, I only heard parts of Neal Ford's "Polyglot Programming" at his keynote at CodeMash 2008.  I was thrilled to get to read his article in this book on how to leverage different languages on the same platform to solve different problems. 

Jeff Bay's piece "Object Calisthenics" strongly reminded me of the glorious work The Practice of Programming from Kernigan and Pike in its emphasis on clean, simple, clear code.  I'm all fired up to refresh my coding practices with Bay's exercise using nine points for pushing yourself into writing better object oriented code.

"Refactoring Ant Build Files" from Julian Simpson, along with Hatcher's Java Development with Ant, should be mandatory reading for anyone dealing with build files -- regardless of what build environment you're using.

Other big winners for me were the testing articles by Kristan Vingrys and James Bull, Dave Farley's work on one-click release, and Stelios Pantazopoulos's article on project vital signs.  Of course, the remaining articles are also winners, it's just that these six or so really struck home with me.

Overall it's a fantastic work and I'm really glad I've got it on my bookshelf!

1 comment:

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