Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Book Review: Practical Development Environments

Matthew Doar's Practical Development Environments (PDE) looks to be a pretty AMAZING book. It really does cover the entire lifecycle of development environment tools for version control, build management, test tools, change/defect tracking, and more. My previous favorite work on this topic was the Pragmatic Programmer's Pragmatic Project Automation (PPA), but no more.

The PPA book is still a GREAT book! And it focuses a lot more on programming and automating tasks and good ways to go about doing it. It goes into some of the details of particular tools and setting them up, especially JUnit.

But the PDE book is far more comprehensive in the range of development environment practices and tools that it covers, including not just the automation aspects, but evaluating them, setup and administration, integrating them together (and issues and challenges encountered), and many more aspects of testing, building, project tracking, version controlling, and just generally helping the development team get work done with maximal support and minimal hindrance from the tools they use.

If you want to be a toolsmith, and learn more about scripting and automating tasks and some of the common tools that already exist, then I'd still recommend Mike Clark's Pragmatic Project Automation.

If you're focus is less on how/when/why to automate and more on evaluating, setting-up and maintaining a practical development environment for your team, then Matthew Doar's Practical Development Environments is definitely my top pick nowadays!

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