Monday, July 27, 2009

My Favorite Technical Books

It's been half a year since I moved from Chicago to London, and there is still an awful lot of stuff that isn't unpacked and is sitting in boxes, including many, many books.

But last weekend, the DH and I added yet another bookcase to the flat, and it's time to take care of the box sitting at my feet, labeled "Amy's favorite computer books."

But wait, I hear you say, if those are your favorite computer books, how can they possibly still be packed away in a box? Don't you need them at your desk every day?

Not so much anymore. A few years ago, I bought a subscription to Safari Books Online, which I can't say enough good things about. Yes, it can be expensive, but if you can scrape together the cash and you love technical books, it's great. Almost all of the books in my box are on there, so I don't need them at my desk.

The other aspect of having these books at my desk was that they were available for my teammates to easily grab and use. But now that I'm in London and those teammates are in Chicago, that doesn't happen anymore.

So, my favorite books have been sitting in their box until now. Now, I have a bookcase with glass doors available, so they won't get dusty. Here they come out of the box:

Head First Design Patterns by Freeman & Freeman I can't say enough good things about this book. It was the book that made the light go on for me for understanding what design patterns are and why they are useful. I own two copies—one was for work and one for home—plus the poster.

Working Effectively with Legacy Code by Michael Feathers For when you have to deal with ugly code, old code, code written by someone else long gone from your company, scary code, code without unit tests, or code you wrote last year and now hate.

Refactoring to Patterns by Joshua Kerievsky A bridge between patterns and refactoring.

Software Estimation: Demystifying the Black Art by Steve McConnell Sometimes I curse that I read this, because it made my BDUF estimates more accurate. Don't worry, there's lots of other good stuff in there, though.

Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture by Martin Fowler This was the most-borrowed book in my library before I moved.

Pro C# 2008 and the .NET 3.5 Platform by Andrew Troelsen When I can't remember how something .NET 3.5 works, and I have trouble finding it online, this is where I end up.

VB & VBA In a Nutshell by Paul Lomax Because unfortunately, sometimes VBA still happens.

There are two more that I need to mention, even though they aren't in the box. The first, I have on CD, and the second I used to borrow from a work-mate until I got Safari books:

Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software by Gamma, Helm, Johnson and Vlissides

Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code by Martin Fowler

But wait? Where is The Mythical Man-Month by Fred Brooks? Good question. Darn thing is too skinny. It's always getting itself lost.


  1. Since you like Refactoring, Did you know there is now a Ruby Edition of that book?

    Likewise, Fred Brooks has a new book out next January:

  2. Great Article. Thank you for sharing! Really an awesome post for every one.

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