I read Coder to Developer (by Mike Gunderloy) this weekend, and overall, I think it’s a good book for someone who has worked on smaller software projects and is interested in putting a little more rigor into their development process. The book discusses the non-coding aspects of producing software, from early discovery and project estimation to creating the final installation package. Among the topics Mike covers are: requirements, project tracking, methodology choice, architecture, design patterns, source code control, defensive coding tactics, unit testing, Test-Driven Development, refactoring, Visual Studio .NET customization and extension, FxCop, code generation, risk management, application logging, working with small and distributed teams, developing a build process, continuous integration, IP protection, and installation.
If you think this is a lot of material to cover in 288 pages, you’re right. Although it can seem like Mike is glossing over some detail at times, for the most part, he goes just deep enough in each section to provide a good introduction to each topic. The end result is a book that gives a quick overview of many current development practices and techniques. Mike mentions and gives his impressions on a number of utilities throughout the book, and a few of his recommendations already look like tools I’ll be using on current and future projects. He also maintains a web site with links to a lot of the tools he discusses in the book.
In short, although some of the tool suggestions many become dated over time, it’s a solid book for anyone who wants to appreciate the current .NET development landscape, and it’s a great way to familiarize yourself with techniques that will improve software quality and predictability. And it’s a bargain at only $29.99.
The book reminds me of The Pragmatic Programmer by Andrew Hunt and David Thomas, another worthwhile read that focuses on issues larger than just coding skills.