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On the job: recommended reading

These are the books I seem to use the most in my work in the last few years. They're not neccessarily my favourites, or ones that I'd consider classics, but they're never far out of reach, and are each hugely useful.

Refactoring is the best book ever written for programmers in the trenches. Seriously, if you don't have it, get a copy. It will help you keep a codebase under control like no other text.

Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture
There's a good amount of bunk spoken about middleware and enterprise computing. And dogmatic bunk at that. This book cuts to the chase and focuses on software techniques to help get enterprise solutions under control. As an added bonus, Martin Fowler is also one the best writers in the industry.

Agile Software Development
There's even more bunk spoken about agile. But you can just call this Sofware Development - it's the sanity check to the reality distortion fileds created by every softeng book you ever read in college. Years and years of refined wisdom and experience - if I could make every developer and technical lead out there read just one book it would this.

XML in a Nutshell
Very useful book to have lying around, once you've gotten over the initial XML technology curves.

Python Essential Reference
Love this book :)

Mastering Regular Expressions, Second Edition
Not just a classic, not just making a sometimes dull subject a pleasure, but updated to cover regex technologies for most of the languages you're likely to use on the job (Java, C#, Perl, Python, shell).

Algorithm Design Manual
Probably the most useful or even the only book available on applying algorithms to problems, as opposed to problem spaces, although those into algorithms may prefer something else. Like the Owl book, makes a potentially turgid topic interesting.

Structure and Intepretation of Computer programs
If there's a better book about the art of programming, I'd love to hear about it :) Don't let the Lisp put you off, I never use Lisp at work either, but my copy is falling apart nonetheless. Every class of problem and technique you're likely to come across is in here.

October 16, 2003 12:39 AM


(October 17, 2003 03:36 PM #)

Thanks Bill.
I'm only really familiar with Refactoring, which I'd certainly recommend. I thought I had a copy of the XML book, or maybe I just sat with it a long time in Waterstones...

Is the regexp book one of their really thin ones? I've got those on HTML, XML (very out of date) Python and Javascript, fairly out of date but still all very handy.

Thanks for the reminder about "Structure and Interpretation..." - full text is available online:

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