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following Jesus, the Word made flesh
December 26th, 2010

Review: The Productive Programmer by Neal Ford

This is a great grab-bag of detailed tips (“Mechanics”) and general approaches/philosophies (“Practice”) for helping serious programmers be more productive (this isn’t a book for the average user). Most programmers know that the difference between an okay developer and a great one isn’t fractional, it’s an order of magnitude or more. The ideas here are part of that body of knowledge that makes for great programmers.

Many readers will find sections where they say “yeah, I know this stuff”: if so, pat yourself on the back as a seasoned developer. But more likely you’ll find at least a few tips worth trying, or be reminded of something you never took the time to try out (but should have: how did I miss multiple desktops for Windows?). Those little gems are worth the price of this book, and you can easily skip the rest. The key to books like this is to set aside a little time each day for improving your craft.

Along the way, Ford’s notes supply zen-like snippets of programmer wisdom:

  • “Search is faster than navigation”
  • “Don’t spend time doing by hand what you can automate”.

and dozens of others. You’ll even learn a little history about Aristotle, Occam, and other subjects. Definitely recommended (if taken as directed).

I review for the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program [Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book as part of the O’Reilly Blogger Review Program. But i would have read it anyway. ]

December 1st, 2010

Hyperlinks to Logos Resources

A few years back i blogged about links into Logos software as a kind of knowledge resource. This style of richly-hyperlinked information is increasingly becoming the standard way i try to communicate: it couples the basic textual content with doors that open into related areas.

With the release of Logos 4 (now a year ago!), there have been some significant changes both to how those links get expressed, and what kind of information can be linked to. So i recently wrote a post for the Logos Blog explaining how this works and why Logos users might care:  Logos 4 Information Has an Address. If you’re a Logos user, i encourage you to check it out!