Reviews

Squidoo: Enter the Lensmaster

So, Squidoo has moved from private to public beta and we're allowed to talk about it again. Does this mean anything to me? Is it any good? Is it important?

Bob Walsh clearly loves it, others aren't so sure. I logged in at the end of October, when the initial invitation came through, brimming with excitment. I clicked around a bit, tried building a lens, didn't really get it, got disappointed with the small number of modules on offer, and never went back.

This weekend I decided it was time for a second look.

Book Review: Don't Make Me Think

Sometime last month I received the second edition of Steve Krug's Don't Make Me Think.

Many people have raved about the original Don't Make Me Think in the past, but fewer probably realize that there is that new edition out. It's in fact so new, that the copyright note is of 2006.

Anyway, the book:

The Career Programmer: Guerilla Tactics for an Imperfect World

Here is something I learned over the last couple years, with the lessons mainly being conducted between the hours of 9 and 5: It rarely matters what is right or wrong. Decisions are not always based on logical thought. As a developer/programmer/software engineer/etc. you can say you just want to do your job and create software. The reality is that the work environment may not be entirely in agreement with your goals. Maybe other individuals/departments follow their own agendas at your cost and maybe you do not receive the freedom (and tools) to actually do your job. There can be many problems. Christopher Duncan's The Career Programmer: Guerilla Tactics for an Imperfect World is a book worth reading to understand your environment and deal with it more effectively.

Which books do you keep on hand?

There are a handful of books that I make a point of keeping close to my desk as general reference guides. I thought I'd take some time to share my list and see if there are others out there that I'm missing. Suggestions for specific languages, concepts, or principles are welcome.

Agile Web Development with Rails

Many people (like me) want to start using Rails, but are a little intimidated by picking up a new language and framework. We don’t want to spend countless hours reading through online documentation and puzzling out how things work. We just want to get stuff done. Agile Web Development with Rails is written with this group in mind and it certainly delivers.

The book is targeted at people who are familiar with coding and object oriented design. While prior knowledge of Ruby is certainly helpful, the book works well for those who are new to the language as well as the framework of Rails (like me). For Ruby newcomers there is an appendix that covers some of the basics of the language. Let’s get on to the meat of the book.