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Developer's Toolkit

Collecting programming books isn't just for show—sometimes they're invaluable.


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ast month I had some developers over to my office house to do a code review of a project they had developed for a client. During the review one of the developers took a walk over to my bookshelf and seemed amazed at the collection of development books there. I have a large Ikea-built bookshelf overflowing with books on software, business and a few stacks of comic books mixed in (see Figure 1). Why the huge collection of books? The first reason is that in my college days I recall fondly going into my professor's offices where they seemed to have books on every development tool and methodology imaginable.

The second reason is that I have long held that good developers must have a decent collection of books to reference when they're in the thick of development. This month I'll take you through a few gems new and old that I have in my collection.

Mythical Man Month
This is a classical book that all developers must have. It details experiences of Fred Brooks during the development of an operating system for the IBM mainframe. This book, written over 30 years ago, is still relevant to software projects today. Postmortems from Game Developer
Game Developer magazine runs a column monthly called "Postmortems." In this column, development teams from various games document the things that went well and not-so-well in their software development projects. This column is useful to read for game developers and general software developers.



Programming Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF)
This book by Chris Sells is one of the newest additions to my collection. Last year I spent days working with the earliest versions of WPF (check out the blog for my write up). I wish I had this book then. If you are looking at using WPF any time in the near future you must have this book.

 
Figure 1. A Developer's Toolkit: A serious collection of programming references is a must-have for any developer.
Windows Forms Programming in VB.NET and C#
We do a ton of development using Windows Forms. This book is a must-have for the Windows Forms developer. It goes into extreme detail explaining the different aspects of Windows Forms development. You can buy it for either C# or VB.NET.

CoDe News
Next month we will debut the first in a series of six articles covering WCF (formerly known as Indigo). The authors who will pen the series include Juval Löwy, Michele Leroux-Bustamante, Christan Weyer, and other contributors from IDesign, Thinktecture, and Microsoft. Don't forget to check out our new editorial section called the "MVP Corner" where we dedicate editorial space for Microsoft MVP's and other pundits to express their opinions in our magazine. If you have an idea for an editorial, send me an e-mail. (rodpaddock@dashpoint.com)

Finally… look for our Mobile CoDe Focus issue where we have articles that are relevant for developers writing code for mobile devices. Thanks

Rodman



   
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