Monday, June 25, 2018

Book review: Programming Beyond Practices by Gregory T. Brown


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I have recently finished the book "Programming Beyond Practices" by Gregory T. Brown and want to give you a short book review.

Despite the title containing the word "programming" the book does not contain any code at all and this totally fits the intention of the book. In eigth chapters the author shows us things we have to take care of next to writing code. The subtitle "Be more than just a code monkey" emphasizes this even more.

When I received the book I was surprised that it is relatively short. Having round about 120 pages it is one of the shortest books I own. Initially, I thought that the short size would be a disadvantage. Nevertheless, after having finished the book, I think it is an advantage. One can easily read it again and again without having to expect two weeks of reading. Just doing a recap of a certain aspect of the book or of all chapters can be done quickly. Still, the chapters contain all of the information necessary and I never felt that the author missed something or kept a chapter artificially short. The only time I wanted to read more was the second last chapter where I wanted to know how the company described would proceed. But that was just my interest in the well written story.

This leads me to the style of writing. The author chose a good way to share his knowledge: every chapter describes a short story of an imaginary project, software, lecture, etc., which contains some interwoven dialogs. These stories make the book easy to read and make the learnings tangible. The chapters all start with a short, general introduction and finish with a summary. Additionally, the author added some questions and exercises to the chapters to force the reader to think a little bit more about the topic presented. Although I did not really do the exercises, I think they can be of great use if one reads this book with others.

Lastly, the author added three riddles to the book. I could not find the solution to any of them but if anyone managed to solve them, please share the solution with me. Next to that some additional materials can be found on the authors website.

All in all I can recommend the book and suggest you to read it, too. The price might seem a little bit high for the number of pages but regarding the knowledge it contains it is definitely worth it.

And what did I learn? Being someone who loves his job for the technical aspects I will try to concentrate more on the problem-solving aspect in the future. Especially with regards to the people involved in the project/software.

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