Sunday, June 12, 2005

First Weekly "What I Read" Blog

I have decided to start doing serial posts where I post, on a certain day or after a certain period of time, a record of recent events or activities. I feel like these entries will help add some positive information to my blog, which, by and large is the very negative rantings of a normally depressed person. So, without further ado, my first serial post:

Things I (re-)read this week

  1. ADO.NET in a Nutshell

  2. Code Complete, Second Edition

  3. The 48 Laws of Power

  4. ADO.NET Cookbook

ADO.Net in a Nutshell

This is an excellent introduction and reference book for ADO.Net, Microsoft's .Net data access architecture. I was looking for a good ADO.Net desk reference book and this is it. While it doesn't provide full enough coverage or the different .Net framework (1.0, 1.1 and 2.0) updates and the impacts on ADO.Net, it still provides an invaluable, and portable, reference to the API.

Code Complete, Second Edition

This is the second edition of a classic work of software engineering by Steve McConnell. The first edition, which I read in 1996, was published in 1993 and was 900 pages long. The first edition of this book, often just referred to as "CC", has been called the "Bible of the Professional Programmer" by many.

The second edition, updated and republished 9 years later is now 960 pages long. The changes made to this book are simply amazing -- updated code samples in modern languages (C++, Visual Basic, C# and Java) provide concrete examples of McConnell's brilliant technical presentation. This second edition, referred to as "CC2" is not what most would consider a "new edition", in fact it is a major rewrite covering current technologies and problems that were not included in the first edition.

So, attention all recent graduates with computer-related degrees: this book is the best career investment you can make. You already spent all that money on your degree so why not buy CC2 and learn how to put all that syntax to good use. It will really cut down on your retraining if you manage to get a real job.

48 Laws of Power

This book is fun to read, while not exactly believable and certainly not a manual to "take over the world" as some reviewers on Amazon think. It consists of 48 chapters, each covering one of Greene's "Laws of Power". Generally each law (that has its own chapter) is explained using five sections:

  1. Judgment: is a brief explanation of the law.
  2. Transgression of the law: a historical example of how the law was broken and the consequences that followed.
  3. Observance of the law: a historical example of how the law was used properly.
  4. Keys to power: explaining why the law works.
  5. Reversal: what you can do to make the law work smoothly and situations where the law can backfire. (A very important section.)

Each law has a word picture that the author calls an "image" to help you remember the law. There is also a quotation from an "authority," a person the author considers to be a power expert (like Machiavelli or Napolean). Each chapter also has fables, short stories, letter extracts, quotations from philosophers, etc. to illustrate the importance of the law. Note that the image, authority, fables, etc. are in red print.

ADO.Net Cookbook

Presented in the excellent O'Reilly cookbook format this book delivers on it's promise. Including 153 solutions with sample code in SQL, T-SQL and C#, this book covers a range of answers to common, and not so common, ADO.Net issues. The book includes an excellent treatment of connection pooling and the new ADO.Net disconnected data architecture.

These time-saving recipes include vital topics like connecting to data, retrieving and managing data, transforming and analyzing data, modifying data, binding data to .NET user interfaces, optimizing .NET data access, enumerating and maintaining database objects, and maintaining database integrity.

So yes, I only read four books this week, but I have been ill and sleeping has been taking top billing. Once I get better, I'll pick up the pace again.


At Friday, June 24, 2005 10:56:00 AM, Anonymous Tony Stubblebine said...

I also recommend Steve McConnell's Rapid Development book to recent graduates. I find the biggest shock to newbies is that there's more to a successful project than just writing code. Much more. The sooner they can wrap their heads around it, the better.

At Friday, June 24, 2005 11:58:00 AM, Blogger Cory said...

My next "What I Read" for this week will include my thoughts on that (also excellent) book. I decided that I should read it again, even without a new edition.

Now, if I can only get my manager to give me a morale budget for my team!


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