- Paperback: 624 pages
- Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (October 30, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0596808321
- ISBN-13: 978-0596808327
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #778,046 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Making Software: What Really Works, and Why We Believe It 1st Edition
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About the Author
Andy Oram is an editor at O'Reilly Media, a highly respected book publisher and technology information provider. An employee of the company since 1992, Andy currently specializes in free software and open source technologies. His work for O'Reilly includes the first books ever published commercially in the United States on Linux, and the 2001 title Peer-to-Peer. His modest programming and system administration skills are mostly self-taught.
Greg Wilson has worked on high-performance scientific computing, data visualization, and computer security, and is currently project lead at Software Carpentry (http://software-carpentry.org). Greg has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Edinburgh, and has written and edited several technical and children's books, including "Beautiful Code" (O'Reilly, 2007).
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The editors of this book do a great job of explaining what we can and can not expect from research. They also adopt a very pragmatic mindset, taking the point of view that appropriate practice is highly contextual. Research can provide us with evidence, but not necessarily conclusions.
Beyond the philosophical underpinnings, 'Making Software' outlines research results in a variety of areas. It gives you plenty to think about when considering various approaches on your team. The chapter 'How Effective is Modularization?' is worth the price of the book alone.
I recommend this book for anyone who wants to learn how to think rigorously about practice.
Making Software presents to each chapter a good experience for software industry and professionals in this area.
I recomend it for academics and professionals.
The kindle version of this book is very sloppy. We'll start at the beginning; the table of contents is needlessly indented. I consider indenting content that crosses several pages questionable in any occasion. This makes it even longer than it already is because chapter titles now often need two instead of one line. The book has links to the chapters, but counting that as an advantage in a digital version is like praising page numbers in a hard copy.
The book also offers links to references, but these sometimes span entire paragraphs or pages instead of just the author and year. This also happens to other links throughout the text.
Tables are not properly adjusted for the kindle, last characters of words are on new lines, columns headers are on the previous page, and sometimes columns are just cut off forcing you to decrease the font size. That shouldn't happen at the default font size. Chapter 12 includes an example of all of these.
Now that we're discussing chapter 12; the Clinical TDD Trial References are placed under a bibliography header on the next page instead of under that header (where they belong, as verified with a hard copy). This leaves a blank page. All other chapters have a single references header that avoids this problem.
The book is readable, but it's a very sloppy.
It would be a 5 star if someone like Steve McConnell had taken the entire contents of the book and written a single coherent text from it. As it is the quality of writing and explanations varies a lot from article to article. For example, in some of the articles the authors decide to show us the code or the SQL statements used to extract data. I found this distracting (who cares how they pulled data from a database?) because I wanted to get to the meat of each piece. I suspect the book could be 1/2 to 2/3 the size it is today with a rewrite.
Despite my reservations this is a very worthwhile book. If you sit down to read it you'll likely find it hard going in places: it's dense and detailed. But that goes somewhat with the territory. This isn't a book about evangelizing the latest development fad, it's about hard data on what does and does not work in software engineering.
Refreshing, if a bit long.