Saturday, 8 May 2004

Reading List

What are the best development books? (

I tried to answer the question, but I virtually ended up listing the contents of my Programming shelf. There's very little dead weight on there. I've got something of a shelf at work, some of which gets used, some not. Other less immediate references stay at home. Here, then, is the home list: not a lot of commentary. Links go to Amazon UK, no kickback to me if you buy one, feel free to use another vendor. In some cases Amazon lists a different title; I've typed what appears on the cover.

Extreme Programming

Extreme Programming Explained (Beck)
Extreme Programming Installed (Jeffries, Anderson, Hendrickson)
(about four years ago, Ian's then employer were considering XP. I try to use some of the principles as appropriate but not yet properly using XP)

Programming Languages and Libraries

Programming in Ada 95 (Barnes) - the language taught in my first programming courses at University. Actually not my book, it belongs to Colin.

The C++ Programming Language, 3rd ed (Stroustrup)
The Annotated C++ Reference Manual (Ellis, Stroustrup)
Ruminations on C++ (Koenig, Moo) - actually, I've never finished reading this
Effective STL (Meyers) - I barely get to use STL

C++ In Depth Box Set, consisting of:

(read that last one if you want a template-induced headache - I maintain that Andrei Alexandrescu was the only good thing ever to come out of RealNetworks)

The Java Programming Language (Arnold, Gosling, Holmes)
The Java Language Specification (Gosling, Joy, Steele, Bracha)
I actually don't know Java that well. I bought these books to assist with my degree final project - a tool to produce diagrams of the static class structure of a program. I started out targetting C++ but discovered that C++ is, to put it mildly, a bugger to parse. I threw myself into the C++ parser so hard that I spent too little (i.e. practically no) time on the drawing and layout side. Eventually, to get something working, I abandoned C++ for Java - but too late. I just barely scraped the project, getting the minimum 40% pass mark, dragging my overall result down to a 2:2.

Windows Programming

I have so many books on Windows and Windows-oriented programming and Windows tools, it's difficult to know how to organise this. That shouldn't be too surprising, given as I work as a Pocket PC and desktop developer for a Microsoft-oriented ISV.

MFC Books

Teach Yourself MFC in 24 Hours (Morrison) - the main book I, er, taught myself MFC from. The main difference between this and other MFC books is that it's entirely code-focused - there's very little use of the Wizards. I maintain that if you want to be able to maintain an MFC program - indeed, any program - you need to know what it's doing, and relying on Wizard-generated code without understanding it is foolish.
Programming Windows with MFC, 2nd Ed (Prosise)

Low-Level & Raw Win32

Programming Applications for Windows, 4th Ed (Richter)
Programming Server-Side Applications for Windows (Richter, Clark)
Inside Windows 2000, 3rd Ed (Solomon, Russinovich)


Applied Microsoft .NET Framework Programming (Richter)
Programming Microsoft .NET (Prosise)
Shared Source CLI Essentials (Stutz, Neward, Shilling)


Inside COM (Rogerson)
Transactional COM+ (Ewald)
(Essential COM is at work, as are Inside ATL and ATL Internals)

Other Windows

Debugging Applications for Microsoft .NET and Microsoft Windows (Robbins)
International Programming for Windows (Schmitt) - this was actually an error made by my sister (who works in Exchange tech support in the UK) when I asked for Programming Windows, 5th Ed (Petzold) (which is at work). Nevertheless I kept it and read it. Despite the UK being so much closer to countries with other languages and character sets, failure to program for international markets is just as prevalent as in the US (and we have the disadvantage to be based in the GMT time zone for half the year).


TCP/IP Network Administration (Hunt) - I ran, among others, a shared computer network at Aston Brook Green between 1998 and 2000. I was responsible for - well, made myself responsible for - DNS and DHCP, which was served from a Linux kernel 2.0.38 (RedHat 5.2, IIRC) box. It was pretty reliable in comparison to Windows 98, but then I wasn't playing games on it or running GUI apps. This was before I ever used Windows NT, which changed everything.

The Mythical Man-Month (Brooks)
Code Complete (McConnell) - I note a second edition is due in about a month.

Programming with POSIX Threads (Butenhof) - there are no good references on Win32 threads, such as when and how to use them. Programming Applications gives little guidance on signalling another thread - it's all about synchronisation. So I picked this up instead.

lex & yacc (Levine, Mason, Brown) - another legacy of my final project. If you want to build a parser, don't use these tools, they're way too confusing (and not powerful enough for C++, if you want an intelligible parser). Elkhound looks much more interesting.

Refactoring (Fowler)

That's everything I have at home; I may update this entry on Monday with what I have at work.

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