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Coder To Developer book

Just arrived from Bookpool today, and I'm up to page 151 (roughly halfway through). I do believe it's going to be sent back tomorrow - I was expecting something more general, along the lines of "The Pragmatic Programmer," but this book is terribly Microsoft/Visual Studio/.NET/C#-centric. For instance, an entire chapter on how to customize the VS.NET IDE, with lots of screen shots as filler. I have no problem with books focusing on using a particular vendor's tools or other add-ins, but the advertising and Joel's Foreword published here led me to expect something quite different.

Has anyone else read this yet, and, if so, does it seem to be a bit useless and redundant, or does it get better as you go along? 

Michael Ealem
Monday, June 14, 2004

It might contain new information for new developers or developers who are new to the Windows Platform and Visual Studio environment.

It is obviously another marketing strategy to promote the name of the author (and others who we all know) and various products.

Seriously, there are way to many books and websites now-a-days masked by stealth marketing techniques that really don't say anything new.  Not a darn thing.

Come on people.  If you're just gonna tell me how to use a debugger for the millionth time, or if you're gonna say that source code control is worth it's weight in gold or that I should keep a list of bugs then you really have nothing new to say.

Here's an idea:

Write a book on an original concept.

Try it.  It works.  You'll like.  I'll like even better.  As an added bonus I might just buy the damn thing instead of browsing it in the bookstore.  (Oh and btw, the fake reviews on Amazon are obvious and can be spotted in an instant.)

Anon
Monday, June 14, 2004

It's really a very basic book.

I read just a few chapters and found very useful the amount of links to useful tools and products, but nothing you can't find googling a few minutes.

I would recomend this book to a junior VB6 programmer without formal CS background that wants a *brief* introduction to several topics involved with real applications (like testing debuging and profiling), alongside with an overview of Visual Studio .NET and some related tools.

It is surely nothing like 'The pragmatic programmer'.

.NET Developer
Monday, June 14, 2004

I'm reading it now (albeit, at the rate of 1 chapter a week given the lack of time). The copy I have was published in 2000 so thankfully there's none of this VS.NET IDE customization nonsense that you talk about.

Overall I think it's a good book but it could be condensed even further (perhaps the length is a corollary of the conversational language that it was written in....).

TheGeezer
Monday, June 14, 2004

> published in 2000
We must be talking about different books - this one was published in 2004 by Mike Gunderloy. Who is the author of the one you have?

Michael Ealem
Monday, June 14, 2004

I'd agree about the excess of .NET/Visual Studio content.

I thought the analysis/design portion of the book seemed incomplete. The author started covering the topic, and appeared to be going somewhere good, but then just stopped. Another chapter or two on it would have been good.

There wasn't as much about solo development processes as the author had led me to hope.

Finally, the focus on specific products and tools guarantees that the book won't age well. "Coder to Developer" *could* have been the sort of book that has a long, useful life, like "Code Complete", had it focused on the crux of the matter rather than ephemera.

Jon H
Monday, June 14, 2004

>We must be talking about different books - this one was >published in 2004 by Mike Gunderloy. Who is the author of >the one you have?

Terribly sorry - I thought you had just taken delivery of a copy of The Pragmatic Programmer. I should have read your original posting more thoroughly.

Nonetheless, based on your recommendations I'll steer clear of "Coder To Developer". It sounds like something aimed more towards newbies.

TheGeezer
Monday, June 14, 2004

Talking about the 'solo programmer' topic, has anyone gone throug Ron Jeffrey's 'Extreme programming adventures in C#' ?

I believe the book has an interesting concept, given Ron's background, but has't got very good reviews on Amazon.

I think It is because it is centered too much around *learning* .NET the extreme programming way (a kind of random and messy investigation based on hacking as he goes).

What do you think?

.NET Developer
Monday, June 14, 2004

"(a kind of random and messy investigation based on hacking as he goes)."

People need a *book* about that?

I thought it was the default behavior.

Jon H
Monday, June 14, 2004

"Just arrived from Bookpool today, and I'm up to page 151 (roughly halfway through). I do believe it's going to be sent back tomorrow..."

Do you really send a book back after you've read half of it? Wow...

Chris Winters
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

>do you really send a book back after you've read half of it
No, I said I'm *considering* sending it back - I'll finish it tonight and then make up my mind (although right now the "send-it-back" impulse is winning by a wide margin).

Michael Ealem
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

> *considering*
Sorry, not entirely accurate - the phrase was "I do believe," but in retrospect, it should have been "considering."

Michael of the Faulty Memory
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

There was another discussion about this book a while back. Personally I found it useful enough to keep it, but the back cover advertising and Joel's plug were both very misleading. Neither mentioned that it's basically a collection of tips and links for Visual Studio users.

Chris Nahr
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Interesting. Pehaps it is a US thing, but I would never have considered sending a book back because I did not like it. I thought this was reserved to circumstances such as receiving a book with pages torn or missing, or printing mishaps (unfocused or blotty ink etc.).

How far does this "I didn't like it so I send it back" go? Obviously if there is a no questions asked money back guarantee on somthing it is a go. But what about music CD's? What about live events: Didn't like the concert tonight, can I have my money back please? Or even straight consumables: Sorry barkeep, but that beer really was a bit too sweet for my taste. Could I have my money back please?

Where is the limit on this?

Just me (Sir to you)
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Uh, yeah, that's how it works in the US at better stores and taverns. You saying that if you don't like your beer they make you drink it anyway?

No wonder US is #1 in business - the customer comes first.

Dan Rutgreen
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

I didn't mean there was something "wrong" with the beer. Obviously that would be a straight replacement or a money back thing. No, I mean the beer was perfectly how it should be, you just decide after half a glass that you aren't keen on this particular brand. Of course you wouldn't have to finish it, but I think you would get pretty funny looks trying to get your money back.

Just me (Sir to you)
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Check your local consumer protection laws -- you may be able to send back mail-order goods for any or no reason, and get your money back.

Also, all Amazon stores allow you to return any books you buy there for a full refund, provided they are in resaleable condition.

Chris Nahr
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

In Australia you could only demand a refund if the book is defective. Many places will give you a refund anyway as good customer service. If you just dont like the book then it is a bit crazy to demand a refund, you should have done better research, or had a bit of a browse in the book store first.

Craig
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Dear Sir,

I don't know about the US thing, but I do know when my wife worked for Lowe's (a home improvement store), they would have customers come in and buy 50 or 100 lawn chairs on a Friday. Monday morning, they would come in and return all of them.

Because Lowe's wants happy customers, they would take it back. But it annoys the buggerall in me when people do things like that.

Now, if something was misrepresented, that's a different story. But with the abundence of reviews usually available on the WWW, if you got duped, more often than not it is because you didn't do the proper research.

CF
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Regarding the beer analogy - OP sounds more like he drank half the beer, said "I don't think I like this" then finished it and said "nope, that was awful" and asked for his money back.

However, a book isn't a beer - after it's returned in good condition, the vendor can resell it (mind you, there are some beers that do taste like they got this treatment...). In effect, OP bought the book, then sold it back to the store at cover price. Although it seems a bit funny, there's really nothing remarkable about it. He spent three days deciding if he wanted to *keep* the book, and decided against it.

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

I am willing to bet the restocking cost of that book would be comparable to the material price of many food consumption items.
What about non-reference works, e.g. novels? Is it common for people to buy say the latest Stephen King, read it and return it?

Just me (Sir to you)
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

I also believe in "caveat emptor", especially for new books. Used/antiques I could see returning if the condition didn't match up to what you were told. But I agree with an earlier poster that we have ample opportunities for researching the content of a book before buying it. Especially from a place like Bookpool that must have margins skinnier than lara flynn boyle...

This tangentially reminds me of the old joke:

"How's the food?"

"Awful, and the portions are tiny."

Chris Winters
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

If you don't want the book, send it to me :) I'll be happy to pay for postage!

Paul
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

  He can return the book, as long as he doesn't take it to the bathroom! :-)

Ricardo Antunes da Costa
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

> caveat emptor
Well, if your local bookstore doesn't carry the book, and the reviews are misleading at best, how are you supposed to do "research?"

And besides, it's going to cost money to send it back and Bookpool doesn't reimburse the original postage.

Geez, folks, if somebody sells me something crappy, don't I have the right to seek redress?

Michael Ealem
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Ok, it's going back. Repeatedly referring to the GPL as "viral" is just flat-out unnecessary, prejudicial, and inflammatory to boot.  He's a developer, not a lawyer.

Without wanting to start a food fight here in the forum over the GPL, I think this fellow just torched whatever credibility he had.

Michael Ealem
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Terrible book if you are looking for best practices etc. It's a big show case on .NET.

What amazes me is that this guy has dedicated an entire chapter on IDE customization. Joel probably was smoking something when he wrote the foreword.

Kate
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Anything that smells Microsoft when you are writing about best practices and methodology makes me puke.

No offense Philo but you guys really suck at best practies. If Microsoft was in UML and methodology business, we would have UML.NET UML#, Visual UML, UML 2003, UML for enterprise, UML for developer, UML for your grandma.

Microsoft's marketing is a BIG FAT LIE.

Kate
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

"Anything that smells Microsoft when you are writing about best practices and methodology makes me puke.

Microsoft's marketing is a BIG FAT LIE. "


/. down today? What the hell does that have to do with the book? Oh, because it caters to a MS development environment? Riiiight...The Borg must be behind this. Of course.

Don't forget to grab your tin-hat on the way out.

Ja
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

The book is litterally littered by C# code and all sorts of talk about .NET.

The guy is a con artist and it makes you wonder about Joel himself too.

Kate
Tuesday, June 15, 2004


"The book is litterally littered by C# code and all sorts of talk about .NET. "

I agree, but what does that have to do with "Microsoft's lies"? I'm just struggling to see the connection.

I think it's a good book, but I'll agree that it's a .NET developer book and it's a bit deceptive to market it as anything other than that.

But MS isn't the publisher, Sybex is.

Ja
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

> Microsoft evil bad blah-blah
> No, it isn't yada yada

Uh, folks, would you mind taking the foodfight elsewhere? Please?

Michael Ealem
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

"Uh, folks, would you mind taking the foodfight elsewhere? Please?"

Yes, I would. Would you pleae take your self-righteous condescending self elsewhere? Thanks.

Tinhat
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

> self-righteous condescending self
Huh? Since when is a request for civility...oh never mind.

BTW, at least I use my real name and email....

Michael Ealem
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Kate, with all due respect, using "UML" as an example of a best practice strains your credibility...

[g,d,r]

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

What I should use your lame, ineffective MSFT?

Are you actually getting paid to be putting junk in this board? no offense, just curious.

Kate
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

In response to a private email just received:
No, Jason, just a professional, who, again, uses his real name and a *real* email address, and doesn't insult strangers gratuitously. Go  back to /.

Michael Ealem
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Kate - that was something of a veiled reference to discussions on here before about UML (I thought you'd participated in those, but perhaps I'm mistaken). Basically the idea that UML is a solution in search of a problem, and most of the time an overzealous pursuit of notebooks full of use cases would be better spent in whiteboarding discussions with notes and the occasional sequence diagram for complex flows.

And no, I'm not getting paid to be on here - I participated on this board for a year before I started at MS and being salaried gave me more freedom to actually participate (and having the resources of MS available also gives me the occasional chance to help some fellow developers out when they're stuck)

As for "but how do you write so much?" I'll let Matt answer that for me:
http://blogs.msdn.com/mattwar/archive/2004/06/08/151069.aspx

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

But you sell, you don't write code true? selling is mastering the art of balderdashing not writing code.

Jason
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

I'm on page 73 of the book.  So far, the book is very basic and the criticisms that people level at it are valid.

My copy is the one that I convinced the Santa Clara Public Library to buy.  So, I have to return it whether I like it or not.  But...

In terms of the whole returning a book after reading it, most people forget to think about how the bookstore feels about you returning it: they couldn't care less.

Books are mass produced and a certain number of expected to get damaged, returned, be unsold or whatever.  For those books, the bookstore gets a credit from the publisher.  A few books that somebody buys and then returns aren't going to make or lose him enough money to even care about.  The bookstores that are picky about returns are either lazy or, perhaps, do special deals with the publisher to get discounts in exchange for not being allowed to return books.

In any case, the publisher couldn't care less, either, about your returned book.  Books are either hit or miss; refusing to take your return isn't going to turn a miss into a hit.

Some have liberal return policies to give customers the courage to try books that they might not otherwise, to use your guilt to get you to keep the book or to get your goodwill.  Others have strict return policies to try to keep the books sold to remain sold, to reduce hassle or because they are cheap.  In no case does returning books drive a bookstore out of business.

So, as a customer, you don't really need to agonize over returning a book or not.  Nobody else except you cares and, in the scheme of things, it doesn't much matter.

Is it unethical?  Even that is hard to say.  You paid your money to get permanent use of a book.  If you decide later that the book is not useful or, even, not useful permanently, then why shouldn't you be able to undo the transaction?  It isn't reasonable to expect you to read an entire book before buying it to determine that you want permanent use of it.  Is it?  The ethics are hazy.

Daniel Howard
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

I like the idea of being able to return an item if it sucks.

As for researching the value of the book first??? Come on, this is not a novel. It is easy enough to find out how good the latest stephen king novel is, just log on to a stephen king forum and the fans will give you the lowdown.

A reference book is far more complex, and expensive! Good for you returning a sucky item. Hopefully it will filter back to the publishers and the point will be made.

Aussie Chick
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

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