Review: Coder to Developer

Mike Gunderloy: Coder to Developer. Sybex, 2004, 078214327X, 297 pages.
When I was a young lad, there weren't many books that would teach you how to program. Oh, there were plenty that talked about this language, or that algorithm, but if you wanted to learn the mechanics of developing software that worked, there was Brian Kernighan's Software Tools in Pascal, and very little else. Twenty-two years later, there's still only a handful to choose from. The good news about Gunderloy's Coder to Developer is that it increases the number by one. This practical, readable book is subtitled Tools and Strategies for Delivering Your Software, and that's exactly what it's about. Project planning, source code control, unit testing, logging, and build management are all there. Importantly, so are newer topics, like building plugins for your IDE, code generation, and things you can do to protect your intellectual property. Everything is clearly explained, and illustrated with well-chosen examples. While the focus is definitely on .NET, Gunderloy covers a wide range of other technologies, both proprietary and open source. I'm already using two new tools based on references from this book, and plan to make the chapter on "Working with Small Teams" required reading for my students. Coder to Developer is a little more nuts 'n' bolts than Hunt and Thomas's Pragmatic Programmer, but just as well written, and just as useful. Two thumbs up.