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Stephen Ritchie's offerings of ruthlessly helpful .NET practices.
In November I traveled to Upstate New York to present at four .NET Users Group. Here’s the overview:
I realize it is belated, but I’d like to extend a very big and heartfelt thank you to the organizers of these users groups for putting together a great series of meetings.
Thank you to Stephanie Carino from Apress for connecting me with the organizers. I really appreciate all the help with all the public relations, the swag, the promotion codes, the raffle copies of my book, and for the tweets and re-tweets.
My presentations are available on SlideShare under my RuthlessHelp account, but if you are looking for something specific then here are the four presentations:
All the code samples can be found on GitHub under my RuthlessHelp account: https://github.com/ruthlesshelp/Presentations
If you attended one of these presentations, please rate me at SpeakerRate:
You can also rate me at INETA: http://ineta.org/Speakers/SearchCommunitySpeakers.aspx?SpeakerId=b7b92f6b-ac28-413f-9baf-9764ff95be79
Apress is currently running a promotion for Pro .NET Best Practices. This is for a limited time.
Until May 31, 2012, you can get 40% off the Pro .NET Best Practices eBook from the Apress website when you apply the promo code CMAP12.
Available eBook formats: EPUB, MOBI, PDF
This discount is only available through apress.com, when you purchase the eBook and apply the promo code CMAP12.
For more information, please visit apress.com
As a pragmatist, hearing that a fellow developer is getting a lot of value from my book is exhilarating. Dominic Zukiewicz wrote an excellent review of Pro .NET Best Practices. Here is the link to Dominic’s blog post: How to implement best practices with the .NET Framework
I’m a big fan of Steve McConnell. I’ve read most of his books and read Rapid Development cover to cover. I consider it his seminal work. It is very high praise to be compared favorably to Rapid Development.
Tad Anderson wrote an excellent review of Pro .NET Best Practices in the .NET Developer’s Journal.
Here’s a link to Tad’s original blog post: Real World Software Architecture: Pro .NET Best Practices Book Review
For those who would like an overview of Pro .NET Best Practices, here’s a rundown on the book.
The book presents each topic by keeping in mind two objectives: to provide reasonable breath and to go into depth on key practices. For example, the chapter on code analysis looks at both static and dynamic analysis, and it goes into depth with FxCop and StyleCop. The goal is to strike the balance between covering all the topics, discussing the widely-used tools and technologies, and having a reasonable chapter length.
Chapters 1 through 5 are focused on the context of new and different practices. Since adopting better practices is an initiative, it is important to know what practices to prioritize and where to uncover better practices within your organization and current circumstances.
This chapter shows how to choose new and different practices that are better practices for you, your team, and your organization.
This chapter draws out ways to uncover better practices in the areas of .NET and general software development that provide an opportunity to discover or learn and apply better practices.
This chapter presents practical advice on how to get team members to collaborate with each other and work toward a common purpose.
This chapter describes specific practices to help with quantifying the value of adopting better development practices.
This chapter provides you with practices to help you focus on strategy and the strategic implications of current practices.
Chapters 6 through 9 are focused on a developer’s individual practices. These chapters discuss guidelines and conventions to follow, effective approaches, and tips and tricks that are worth knowing. The overarching theme is that each developer helps the whole team succeed by being a more effective developer.
This chapter helps sort out the generalized statements, principles, practices, and procedures that best serve as .NET rules and regulations that support effective and innovative development.
This chapter is an informal review of the C# language’s power both to harness its own strengths and to recognize that effective development is a key part of following .NET practices.
This chapter describes many specific practices to improve test code, consistent with the principles behind effective development and automated testing.
This chapter discusses using build automation to remove error-prone steps, to establish repeatability and consistency, and to improve the build and deployment processes.
Chapters 10 through 12 are focused on supporting tools, products, and technologies. These chapters describe the purpose of various tool sets and present some recommendations on applications and products worth evaluating.
This chapter presents the continuous integration lifecycle with a description of the steps involved within each of the processes. Through effective continuous integration practices, the project can save time, improve team effectiveness, and provide early detection of problems.
This chapter provides an overview of many static and dynamic tools, technologies, and approaches with an emphasis on improvements that provide continuous, automated monitoring.
Chapter 12 is a comprehensive list of testing frameworks and tools with a blend of commercial and open-source alternatives.
The final chapter is about the aversions and biases that keep many individuals, teams, and organizations from adopting better practices. You may face someone’s reluctance to accept or acknowledge a new or different practice as potentially better. You may struggle against another’s tendency to hold a particular view of a new or different practice that undercuts and weakens its potential. Many people resist change even if it is for the better. This chapter helps you understand how aversions and biases impact change so that you can identify them, cope with them, and hopefully manage them.
I am a Microsoft .NET software developer. That explains why the book is about .NET best practices. That’s in my wheelhouse.
The more relevant question is, why a book about best practices?
When it comes right down to it, many best practices are the application of common sense approaches. However, there is something that blocks us from making the relatively simple changes in work habits that produce significant, positive results. I wanted to further explore that quandary. Unfortunately, common sense is not always common practice.
There is a gap between the reality that projects live with and the vision that the team members have for their processes and practices. They envision new and different practices that would likely yield better outcomes for their project. Yet, the project reality is slow to move or simply never moves toward the vision.
Many developers are discouraged by the simple fact that far too many projects compromise the vision instead of changing the reality. These two concepts are usually in tension. That tension is a source of great frustration and cynicism. I wanted to let people know that their project reality is not an immovable object, and the team members can be an irresistible force.
Part of moving your reality toward your vision is getting a handle on the barriers and objections and working to overcome them. Some of them are external to the team while others are internal to the team. I wanted to relate organizational behavior to following .NET best practices and to software development.
The team must know what to do. They need to know about the systematic approaches that help the individual and the team achieve the desired results. There are key practice areas that yield many benefits:
Of course, there is a lot of overlap in these areas. The management scientist might call that synergy. A common theme to these practice areas is the principle of automation. By acquiring knowledge in these practice areas you find ways to:
Know-how in these practice areas also raises awareness and understanding, creates an early warning system, and provides various stakeholders with a new level of visibility into the project’s progress. I wanted the reader to appreciate the significance and inter-relatedness of these key practice areas and the benefits each offers.
The team needs to know how to do it. Every new and different practice has a learning curve. Climbing that curve takes time and practice. The journey from newbie to expert has to be nurtured. There are no shortcuts that can sidestep the crawl-walk-run progression. Becoming skilled requires experience. Prototyping and building an archetype are two great ways to develop a skill. Code samples and structured walkthroughs are other ways to develop a skill. I wanted the book to offer an eclectic assortment of case studies, walkthroughs, and code samples.
Team members must want to adopt better practices. Managers need to know why the changes are for the better, in terms managers can appreciate. The bottom line, it is important to be able to quantify the benefits of following new and different practices. It is also important to understand what motivates and what doesn’t. It helps to understand human biases. Appreciate the underlying principle that software projects are materially impacted by how well individuals interact. I wanted to highlight and communicate the best practices that relate to the human factors that include persuasion, motivation, and commitment.
Here are the links to Pro .NET Best Practices: