Posts Tagged books

Reading one book every day (well, sort of…)

A few months ago I mentioned how I’m Catching up with my Book Reading. There are so many books I want to read, but there’s never enough time. Usually, before deciding on whether I’ll read a book or not, I read reviews on Amazons or blog posts from people who have read it. A few days ago I’ve learned about a better way to do that: Blinkist.

I’ve learned about Blinkist a few days ago after reading this post in the Evernote blog. I tried their free trial and decided to subsribe.

They have 15-minute summaries of several books, including many books that have been on my reading list for a while. I can either read these summaries, or listen to it. These summaries contain the gist of the book, and it gives me chance to make a better decision as to whether I want to read the full book or not. Regardless, those 15 minutes should give me enough information which I might not get otherwise.

I had already put a “read for 15 minutes” item on my “building better habits” daily list, and now I have a great source of reading material to fulfil that daily habit. I’ve added a bunch of books to my library and will be going through each one of them, daily, 15 minutes a day.

Let me know if you give Blinkist a shot. I’d like to know how you like it, and what your favorite books are, as I’m always looking for recommendations to add to my list.

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Windows Developer Power Tools

If you’ve been following this blog, you probably know I’m big into using the right tools to be more productive. A few weeks back I got a copy of the following book:

Windows Developer Power Tools: Turbocharge Windows development with more than 170 free and open source tools (Power Tools)
by James Avery, Jim Holmes

Read more about this title…

This is a great book. It lists a bunch of tools to improve developers’ productivity in many fronts. Many of the tools listed on the book I’ve also blogged about here (and I’ll continue doing so, putting my own spin as to why I like the whatever tool). I was happy to see that a bunch of the tools I use are listed in the book.

This is a big book (1308 pages), but it is not the kind of book you read from cover to cover, or in any specific order. One should pick it up, flip through the pages, see what’s there, and dig into the topics of interest.

I certainly recommend any developer should look into this book. There’s nothing like using the right tool for each kind of job (even though one can put a nail on the wall by using a screwdriver, the best tool for the task is a hammer, right?). Of course, there is a boat load of tools available out there in the wild, and it’s hard to decide which one could be useful for us, and this book does a great job at pointing us out to what’s worth checking out.

Here are some of the tools listed in the book that I already use:

That’s just to name a few. I’ll also be going through the book to check out what other tools I should definitely be using.

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Framework Design Guidelines book

This is a book that should be required for every .NET developer to read:
 
Even though some might think this book is only meant for those who write frameworks, I don’t believe this is the only case at all. To me, this is a book to be read by any developer writing ANY .NET code. Every code written should follow standards and conventions. That makes so much easier for people to maintain and use it. Whenever a developer starts creating a class, or a method, etc., it should be done in the most professional way possible (a method you write today to solve a specific problem may be used tomorrow by another developer who happens to be facing the same problem, so you should always be striving to write the code as best as you can).
 
Reading through the book we learn from the MS developers why some things were done in such a way, and how they’ve managed to improve things based on developers’ feedback. For instance, they mention a usability test they’ve applied to a group of developers, where the task was "simple": to write some code that takes a string and saves it to a file on disk. They had 30 minutes to do so. Something like 9 out 10 developers couldn’t get the job done. They figured it was really hard to accomplish something that simple (and that’s needed quite often), and therefore they’ve come up with easier ways to get to the functionality. Things like that get you thinking about how you’re designing your classes (is it going to be simple enough for other developers – or even myself – to use it?).
 
That means that besides helping the reader improving how to write better code, the book also helps with understanding better the .NET framework.
 
Again, this should be a required reading for every .NET developer.  🙂

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