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FoA Reviewed On Relevance

April 15th, 2006 No comments

Justin Gehtland recently posted some reviews of the first round of Ajax books; for his take on Foundations of Ajax click here (thanks to Brent Ashley for pointing these out to me – Justin must have switched his RSS feed recently because I had to modify my subscription in Bloglines). First off, I appreciate Justin’s kind words about me personally and as I think is obvious from my NF Quotes post and my summary of day 2 entry, the feeling is mutual! All in all, I like Justin’s take on the book and he’s one of the few that really got what we were trying to do – Ryan and I have always felt that the real strengths of FoA are the tools chapters. While IDEs are catching up, we’re largely on our own when it comes to coding JavaScript – which is why we spent a good chunk of the book writing about the developer’s toolbox.

As I mentioned in the comments, we would have covered the libraries in more depth than a short appendix but at the time we wrote the book (nearly a year ago now…wow, time really flies) it really wasn’t clear who the “winners” would be and while the space is still wide open, there is at least some consolidation around frameworks like Dojo, Prototype, and script.aculo.us. That said, we *will* be covering them (along with others) in our next book – Pro Ajax with Java (more of that soon!). If we ever write a second edition of FoA, we will certainly keep Justin’s remarks in mind.

Anyway, thanks for the review Justin and I really hope we’ll have some time to chat at RailsConf!

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PaD is Out!

April 15th, 2006 No comments

I meant to post this earlier (I’m a little behind on my blogging) but…Practices of an Agile Developer (Amazon link) is now availalbe! For my take on PaD, see my earlier post, take a look at Andy’s announcement (looking forward to those podcasts Andy!) as well as Venkat‘s. This really is a fantastic book and I highly recommend it. Congratulations to Andy and Venkat for writing such a great book!

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Foundations of Ajax on Slashdot

March 1st, 2006 No comments

Ryan and I were quite thrilled to see that Foundations of Ajax was Slashdotted today – here’s a link. Craig Maloney gives us an 8 out of 10 (by the way, I loved your post on Michigan drivers…sad to say you could substitute Minnesota and it’d fit perfectly!) and there were some positive reviews within the comments as well. Needless to say, we’ve spiked a tad on Amazon… Tip of the cap to Brent Ashley for being the first to fill me in (hey, I was at lunch with the lads when it was posted) and thanks to those that emailed me – I appreciate the kind words! I’m just tickled that our little book made it to the front page on Joe’s customized Google home page ;)

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Practices of an Agile Developer

February 16th, 2006 No comments

Practices of an Agile Developer
I was lucky enough to get a early look at Practices of an Agile Developer by Venkat Subramaniam and Andy Hunt, one of the newest books from the Pragmatic Bookshelf. I’ve actually been anxiously awaiting this book ever since I saw Venkat speak about Java generics at the No Fluff Just Stuff conference last year – and I wasn’t disappointed! Whether you’re already doing agile development or just looking for a good resource to get started, this book is a must read.

PaD covers what you would expect from a book about agile development including integrate early and often, automate deployment, use short iterations, collective ownership, and keeping it simple. However, it’s the personal practices that set this book apart from others on the subject. Practices of an Agile Developer discusses many of the “soft” aspects of software such as criticize ideas instead of people, keeping up with change, and the importance of rhythm.

Speaking of rhythm, this book is a joy to read. Unlike some tomes that drone on and on, PaD presents material in easy to digest chunks of 2-5 pages making it particularly approachable for those of us with limited contiguous reading time! Venkat and Andy do a great job of putting these practices into context by providing “devil” and “angel” quotes throughout (and if you’re anything like me, some of those devils hit awfully close to home…). Each section leads off with the devil tempting you to do something foolish and ends with an angel’s advice on following the practice.

It’s one thing to read about something but unless you’ve actually successfully applied the knowledge (or have Venkat and Andy on retainer), it can be very difficult to know if you’re doing it right. To help reinforce the material, each section gives you a sense of what the practice should feel like and as someone that has only worked in pseudo agile environments, I found these pointers particularly helpful!

Subtitles are often overlooked – but “Working in the Real World” really is fitting. Unlike some books that preach practices that only work in narrow niches or the halls of academia, this book gives you practical advice that you can apply to your work today. The book is on its way to the printer and should be available in early March – preorder your copy now! But don’t just take my word for it

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