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Jolt Awards

The 13th Annual Software Development Jolt & Productivity Awards


BOOKS: GENERAL INTEREST

Agile Software Development: Principles, Patterns and Practices
Robert C. Martin
(Prentice Hall, 2002)


Robert C. Martin, author

Robert Martin is, in his own words, “happy as a clam,” and this infectious joy permeates Agile Software Development. Martin spent six years evolving the book from its initial charter as a second edition of Designing Object-Oriented C++ Applications Using the Booch Method(Prentice Hall, 1995) to its final incarnation as a bible of agile practices and design concepts. Bible is an apt description for the work, which incorporates 30 chapters and a multitude of appendices, case studies, patterns and even the Manifesto for Agile Software Development printed inside the cover. Martin’s engaging pedagogical style holds the reader’s attention, as does his mix of dialogue and code listings (an approach that will be familiar to followers of his Craftsman column for this magazine) with OO/agile practice and design discussions. The four appendices offer additional goodies: two UML notation examples, a satire of agile versus nightmare companies and “The Source Code Is the Design,” an essay by Jack Reeves. As effusive and unpredictable as Martin himself, this book stands out among the past year’s other agile titles as the one most clearly stamped with its author’s ebullient effectiveness.

—Alexandra Weber Morales

Documenting Software Architectures: Views and Beyond
Paul Clements, Felix Bachmann, Len Bass, David Garlan, James Ivers, Reed Little, Robert Nord and Judith Stafford
(Addison-Wesley, 2002)

What good is a well-written software architectural document if you can’t communicate it effectively to different audiences? Documenting Software Architectures concisely articulates and illustrates ways to target a specific readership and manage the entire technical-writing process to encourage others to do what you need them to do. The book also offers powerful document design and development techniques for the reader to explore. Documenting a panoply of architectural views, communicating to the right audience and managing the whole process—all tucked in between two covers and ably compiled by the eight-member Carnegie Mellon SEI team. You’ll want to keep this book at hand.

—Rosalyn Lum

Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture
Martin Fowler
(Addison-Wesley, 2002)

Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture is a useful reference and a thought-provoking read, as well as a great introduction to enterprise application development design. Enterprise applications are systems with large amounts of persistent data that is accessed concurrently through many user interface screens.

Fowler describes 51 patterns in great clarity, many of which, depending on your enterprise application experience, are familiar. The book’s first hundred pages shine brightest: The author compares similar patterns and offers some well-reasoned advice to help the reader determine when to choose one pattern over another. The section ends with an interesting chapter on enterprise application architecture as a specific sequence of pattern choices, discussing the way that the choice of Java or .NET affects design.

—Hugh Bawtree

Test-Driven Development: By Example
Kent Beck
(Addison-Wesley, 2002)

In his latest contribution to the growing XP canon, Kent Beck homes in on one of its most confounding tenets: writing a test before coding a solution. In the book’s first example—building a currency conversion program in Java—Beck conversationally codes the program one test and one unit of functionality at a time. Then, to make things a bit more confusing, he creates an xUnit testing framework in Python, suggesting that dedicated XPers should roll their own language-specific testing frameworks. The testing patterns in Part III comprise an invaluable catalog: from basic testing behaviors (how to start, take a break, when to stop) to incremental ways to make tests work (faking it, triangulation) to technical patterns (mock objects, “Self Shunt,” “Log String,” “Crash Test Dummy”). Parts I and II may smack of self-indulgent stream-of-consciousness, but they lead effectively to the test patterns in Part III.

—Alexandra Weber Morales



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