- Series: Pragmatic Programmers
- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Pragmatic Bookshelf (June 23, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0977616665
- ISBN-13: 978-0977616664
- Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,255,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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No Fluff, Just Stuff Anthology: The 2006 Edition (Pragmatic Programmers)
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About the Author
Authors include well-known, previously published and best-selling authors: Neal Ford, Scott Davis, David Geary, Andrew Glover, Stuart Halloway, Kirk Knoernschild, Mark Richards, Jared Richardson, Ian Roughley, Brian Sletten, Venkat Subramaniam, Eitan Suez, and Glenn Vanderburg.
Top customer reviews
Written by leaders in their fields, this book doesn't aim to be definitive, but consists of essays by those people about the stuff which interests them. I didn't follow all of the subjects covered, and I think that you would be hard-pressed to. All were well written and would appeal to followers of that particular facet of information technology.
One particular thing I liked about this was the appendix covering each author's favourite reads and tools, plus a comprehensive bibliography.
I'm sure you'll find, as I did, half a dozen topics of interest, with several others opening up previously unknown fields of study. I'm looking forward to the next edition.
Much material in this volume is written by agitators of the "new age" software movement, for lack of a better word. They gravitate towards weaker contracts (i.e. REST over WS-*), loose typing (i.e. Ruby over Java), relaxed processes (i.e. Agile over anything else), and so forth... While all authors are entitled to their opinions, I find it unsettling that the "new age" dogma dominates much of the publication. Brian Sletten assaults WS-* in his essay "Give it a Rest", but where is the counterargument? The three paragraphs Sletten himself offers? Or does the editor wish to suggest, quite falsely if so, that there really is no business case to explain why top enterprises leverage WS-* based solutions in spite of their cost?
How about Jared Richardson's article on JRuby titled "Integrating Ruby with legacy code"? Since when is Java considered legacy code? Since when has the free world stopped developing solutions in Java except when under the whip of mighty yet incompetent management? And once again, where is the refutation? Where is the essay on the dangers of mixing and matching languages and platforms? The weaknesses of purely-dynamic languages? Certainly not in this NFJS anthology (sorry, Jared, two brush-off bullet points don't count). And what of a counterargument to Venkat Sabramaniam's essay on Agile Methodologies? While deeply insightful into agile techniques, it also seems to offer Agile as a panacea of sorts, omitting any discussion of when an agile process may be unfitting or even crippling. Once again, shop somewhere else for the complete story.
Ultimately, the single greatest failure of this compilation can be attributed to Neal Ford's role as its editor. A quick glance at his blog allows one to glean Ford's biases with a naked eye. While the strength of Ford's dispositions does not detract from his status or credibility as a great speaker and author, it renders him unfit to edit such a compilation as this anthology. Ford goes so far as to violate a key principle of the NFJS series by propagandizing a $500 IDE (Chapter 10), while devoting less than half that real estate to Eclipse techniques (Chapter 11), despite the latter's prevalence in availability and market share. In short, Ford allows what would otherwise be an invaluable educational resource to become a hideous concoction of information and propaganda.
Fortunately, Ford's negligence toward balance was slightly tempered by the diversity and insight of several of the authors. Howard Lewis Ship's essay on testing tools and techniques (Chapter 7), David Geary's introduction to the Google Web Toolkit (Chapter 8), and Scott Leberknight's "Data Access using Spring, Hibernate, and JDBC" (Chapter 19). These chapters stand out due to both their relevance and their instructional approach. These essays teach, rather than preach, and set a wonderful example of what the rest of this volume should have looked like. While I look forward to attending this year's No Fluff Just Stuff conference in Boston and even hearing some of the people whose work I criticized in the preceding paragraphs, I hope the 2008 NFJS anthology will offer less demagoguery and more substance, less fluff and more stuff.
The book is a collection of 15 technical papers from NFJS speakers that will just make you flat smarter. I found each paper to be informative, well written, and enjoyable. For example, the first paper is "Real World Web Services" by Scott Davis. In it, he provides a broad overview of the various acronyms that make up Web Services. While I was already pretty familiar with WS, this paper filled a few gaps in my knowledge of the subject. In other sections of the book there are deep discussions on testing, continuous integration, methodologies, and more.
The NFJS 2006 Anthology cuts a wide swath across the topic of software development. And yet, each section manages to go quite deep into the subject. I found a nice balance of variety and detail. Some of the papers were on topics I wouldn't necessarily seek out but I appreciated the opportunity to widen my horizons a bit.
Check out the TOC and sample chapters on the Pragmatic Programmer site.
Think of it as a technical conference to go. Highly recommended.
The book's first chapter, "Real World Web Services" by Scott Davis, sets the tone for the rest of the book: a nice walkthrough of Service-Oriented Architeture, cutting through all the hype surrounding SOA and doing a great job of explaining it in five short paragraphs. Davis moves on to more detail on web services, walking the reader through SOAP, REST, and JSON.
The other chapters follow the same line with clear background and focused discussion on the most important parts of the topic. You can read about instrumenting software, using code coverage, or even dealing with CSS from a developer's perspective. Much of the book's code is Java-centric, but the concepts are important and similar across platforms, so any developer (even a .NET geek like me) can get a lot out of the book.
Additionally, the book's not solely focused on pure code. Several chapters highlight process or methodology topics, like Jared Richardson's "The Cornerstone of a Great Shop" which discusses build processes, or Venkat Subramaniam's "From Fragility to Agility: Methodologies and Practices" which hits the main points of rolling into agile development.
This book is a terrific read. It's concise, it's detailed, it's well-written. Definitely a keeper for my bookshelf.
(Disclaimer: I got this as a free review copy. So what? It's a killer book!)