Recommended Books

I have a list of books, which I highly recommend.
Each book taught me something different.

It all begun years ago, when I went into interviewing process for my second work place.
I was a junior Java developer, a coder. I didn’t have much experience and more importantly, I did not have a mentor or someone who would direct me. I learned on my own, after a CS Java course. Java 1.4 just came.

One of my first interviewers was a great mentor. We met for an hour (probably). I don’t remember the company.  I don’t remember the job position. I don’t remember his name.
But I DO remember a few things he asked me.
He asked me if I know what TDD was. He asked me about XP.
He also recommended a book: Effective Java by Joshua Bloch

He didn’t even know what a great gift he gave me.

So I went on and bought Effective Java, 1st edition. And TDD by Kent Beck.
That was my first step towards being craftsman.

Effective Java and Refactoring
These two books look as they are not entirely related.
However, both of these books thought me a-lot about design and patterns.
I started to understand how to write code using patterns (Refactoring), and how to do it in Java (Effective).
These books gave me the grounds for best practice in Java and Design Patterns and OOD.

Test Driven Development
I can’t say enough about this book.
At first, I really didn’t understand what it was all about.
But it was part of XP !! (which I didn’t understand as well).
The TDD was left on the shelf until I was ready for it.

Clean Code and The Pragmatic Programmer
Should I say more?
If you haven’t read both, stop everything and go to read.
They are MUST for anyone who wants to be craftsman and takes his / her profession seriously.
These books are also lots of fun to read. Especially the Pragmatic book.

The Clean Coder
If you want to take the next step of being a professional, read it.
I was sometimes frustrated while reading it. I thought to myself how can pass all of this material to my teammates…

Dependency Injection
Somewhat not related, but as I see it, if you don’t use DI, you can’t write clean, testable code.
If you can’t write clean, testable code, you are missing the point of craftsmanship.
The book covers some injectors frameworks, but also describe what is it all about.

Below is a table with the books I have mentioned.

One last remark,
This list does not contain the only books I read.
During the years I have read more technical / professional books, but these made the most difference for me.

Name Author(s) ISBN
Effective Java Joshua Bloch 978-032-135-668-0
Test-Driven Development Kent Beck 978-032-114-653-3
Refactoring Martin Fowler 978-020-148-567-7
Dependency Injection Dhanji R. Prasanna 978-193-398-855-9
Clean Code Robert C. Martin 978-013-235-088-4
The Clean Coder Robert C. Martin 978-013-708-107-3
The Pragmatic Programmer Andrew Hunt , David Thomas 978-020-161-622-4

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Learn Ruby

I decided to learn a new language, which is different than Java and thought that Ruby would be a good candidate.
After searching the web for good tutorials and not just basic ‘Hello World’ I found this one:
http://rubykoans.com/

I liked the idea that the learning is step by step and it feels that there’s lot of thinking behind it.
What I mostly liked was the TDD approach in the learning method.

At the beginning the tests are simple and teach the basic syntax and semantics.
Gradually the tests become more interesting and complex.
Each test file starts with ‘about_’.

The first interesting and more challenging test was the triangle. Not due to the “algorithm”, but the usage of another file. I tried to have separate class for validation. Just to make a habit.
Then came the ‘calculate score’. The basic solution was simple, but it took me several iterations to make the code cleaner and get familiar with Ruby Hash usage.
I wonder whether I did make it better and cleaner.

Inheritance exercise was simple although I needed to grasp the meaning of: “inheritance and cross-methods”
Modules: I didn’t really understand the modules usage in a class. What is it good for?
So “about scope” helped me understand it.
I really like the idea that the tests are built one on top of the other.

‘About Proxy’ is really interesting! It took me the longest time to solve.
It is based on many previous assignments and was a real challenge. I had to recheck classes, symbols, arrays and many other tests.
There’s an extra credit assignment, which I’ll do next.
In the meantime, here’s the code in GitHub:

https://github.com/eyalgo/ruby-koans-exercise

Resources
http://rubykoans.com/
http://www.ruby-doc.org/
https://github.com/bbatsov/ruby-style-guide