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Programming Beyond Practices: Be More Than Just a Code Monkey by [Brown, Gregory T]
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Programming Beyond Practices: Be More Than Just a Code Monkey 1st , Kindle Edition

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product description

About the Author

Gregory Brown has run the independently published Practicing Ruby journal since 2010, and is the original author of the popular Prawn PDF generation library.In his consulting projects, Gregory has worked with key stakeholders in companies of all sizes to identify core business problems that can be solved with as little code as possible.Gregory's relentless focus on the 90% of programming work that isn't just writing code is what lead him to begin working on Programming Beyond Practices.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 10487 KB
  • Print Length: 133 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1491943823
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (6 Oct. 2016)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #576,352 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I couldn't gel with it, it's written from a heavily XP-driven and product-based agenda. I will keep reading it, it obviously has value. I'd just caution blind following of it or any other book and didn't engage as readily as if I recognised the situations presented or could see a clear path to the advice given.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quick Read. Valuable. And Humble. 31 Oct. 2016
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I recently worked at a company that hired new computer science grads. They were whip smart, but many of them had only just started shipping commercial software. Often, when there was a problem brewing, a sage experienced engineer would saunter over during the discussion and facilitate a breakthrough. Delivery was important. It wasn't a "do this" type tip (the hallmark of expert drive-by experts). Rather, there was always a discussion ... an exchange, context gathering, problem solving, subtle nudges, and individual realizations and wins.

This book reminds me of those initiative hardened, observant, empathetic, skilled, and curious mentors and leaders. Programming Beyond Practices isn't a bang you over the head with "the way" type book. It is a quick read, spanning eight chapters roughly mirroring a software developer's career arc. There's scant jargon, dogma, and evangelizing. Everyone and their brother/sister waxes on about craft and devops. Not Brown. He uses basic stories and narratives to guide the reader. There are timeless lessons here -- avoid non-essential real-time data synchronization, remember that external services might change or die, work part of the problem by hand before writing code, etc. -- but the beauty is in the stories and examples. As the chapters progress, we start getting into some meatier topics (including an almost PTSD inducing overcommitted dysfunctional team), but the pacing and delivery never shifts.

Programming Beyond Practices covers topics that I have seen come up over and over in commercial software product development. It might seem "basic" to someone steeped in theory, the science, etc. but this is the real world stuff teams stumble on every day. 5 stars. Quick read, valuable, and humble.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be More Than a Code Monkey 10 Nov. 2016
By Brett Porter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book digs into the higher-level thinking that a modern software developer needs to be fluent in (the book's subtitle is "Be More Than Just a Code Monkey"). For example, the first chapter discusses using prototypes to explore project ideas. On the surface, this hardly seems worth writing down, but my experience is that far too many developers don't have a well-considered way to actually do that (and I think that it's sometimes made worse by clients who once skimmed an article on [The Lean Startup][...] get excited about the idea of a 'Minimum Viable Product' and come to us wanting what they call an "MVP" but that would take a team of 5 a year to produce.)

Brown uses an unconventional format for the book -- chapters are mostly in the form of a narrative in which you (the reader) are the main character in a brief drama involving the development problem that he's covering. One nice thing about his approach is that by making it a narrative, it becomes natural to have the characters discuss the various tradeoffs that need to be balanced as a problem is explored and a design evolves out of that exploration as their understanding grows.

Too many software books are like the cooking segments on early morning talk shows -- the chef comes in, points at some bowls of ingredients before dumping them into a pan while the host jokes around, and then, through the magic of television, they reach under the counter and pull out an already cooked and perfectly presented finished dish. With both cooking and developing software, the interesting (and hard!) part is that stuff in the middle where you're at least a little confused, things aren't going the way you expect them to, and you need a way to get to the desired end state, whether that's because of good intuition, experience, or having learned from a good guide.

This is definitely a book that I'd recommend, especially to some of the young developers I've met coming out of computer science programs that have trained them in chapter and verse of whatever language they've used for instruction, and given a description of an algorithm can maybe implement it cleverly, but when presented with a real problem affecting users aren't sure how to dig in and make something that works.

I'll probably read it again right away (but more slowly), and will probably pull it off the shelf for a refresher every year or two.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vignettes of thorough design thought process 24 Nov. 2016
By Michael C. Feathers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Programming Beyond Practices is a very different kind of book. It's short but it covers a lot of territory well. Essentially, it's a set of deep dives into areas of development that are extremely important yet marginalized in books or blogs.

When Eric Evan's Domain Driven Design was first released, I liked it for a very different reason than most reviewers. In addition to all of the good patterns and advice, Eric told a wonderful story about the thought process of finding abstractions. If I remember it correctly, it was a section called 'Story of a Breakthrough.' You can't give people an algorithm to find abstractions, and heuristics are often superficial. The story outlined exactly what the process was like in reality. Gregory's book is filled with those sorts of stories, and that makes it a great introduction to world of decision making in development.

If you are an expert, you may find things in this book that you don't know, but if you have only a few years of development experience, you find many avenues for exploration, and more than that, a sense of how a very experienced developer sees the world an approaches decision making. Those are pieces of an ethic that can carry you forward your entire career.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book for anybody who is building business software, or who is paying someone else to create business software. 10 Jan. 2017
By sp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is full of practical advice for anybody designing and coding business software. I would also recommend it to any manager who is paying someone else to create or maintain software for their business. Greg knows what it takes to get things done in the real world, with real people and real businesses. Highly recommended!
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