What Books Am I Currently Reading?

Posted on 28 July 2008 by Johannes Fahrenkrug. Tags: Programming
Yes, I am fully aware of how geeky and nerdy this sounds, but I like to read programming books. For fun. Really. If you're still reading and haven't left my site with a "poor sod" kind of head-shake, I'll tell you about WHAT I'm reading. Behold some wonderful books! Just a note: I read asynchronously: I can never wait to finish one book before I start reading the next, so I often end up reading around 4 books at the same time (well, not LITERALLY the same time, but I trust you get what I mean). The one I started reading the longest time ago is "Head First Software Development". I really like the Head First Series, especially Head First Design Patterns. The Software Development book is very good as well. It tries to give you a very rounded look at what it takes to professionally develop software, including user stories, testing, version control, continuous integration and more. Especially if you're only a one-man-team not everything in the book is practical in reality and I haven't learned a lot of new things from it, but if you want to mature from a programmer to a developer, it's definitely worth a read. It's also quite entertaining with lots of images, stories and diagrams and examples, just like the other Head First books. On the security front I'm reading The Web Application Hacker's Handbook. I haven't gotten that far yet, because some other interesting books have arrived from Amazon in between and required my immediate attention. Dafydd Stuttard is one of the authors. He created the Burp Suite of tools for web application hacking, so he really knows what he's talking about. The book covers everything from primers of the technologies used in web applications, analyzing web apps, attacking authentication and session management, code injection, attacking application logic, attacking other users, compiled code and web servers to code reviews. An extremely important read, not just for security people, but to any web application developer. I have also started reading Security Warrior by Anton Chuvakin and Cyrus Peikari, which doesn't just specialize in web app security, but also in reverse engineering and OS and protocol-level attacks. I really have to finally finish reading it :) One book I actually recently finished reading is "JavaScript - The Good Parts" by Douglas Crockford, the creator of JSON. I highly recommend it! Not too long ago I didn't have much respect for JavaScript as a language. I thought it was only capable of performing tiny tasks within a webpage. But that conception changed. I was pretty amazed by the Ext-Js JavaScript library, then by jQuery, then by OpenSocial and most recently by SproutCore. All that convinced me that JavaScript must be very powerful if it makes such cool things possible. Oh yes, and this post by Steve Yegge was another piece of evidence! But back to the book: it only has a little over 150 pages (yes, I can hear you say: "Well, it IS called JavaScript - The Good Parts, so it can't have that many pages") and gets right to the point: You'll see how you can use only a subset of JavaScript, the beautiful and good parts, and avoid the bad and awful parts (two appendices are actually called that!). That will equip you with a very powerful language. Highly recommended for any web developer. Even if you just read "The Awful Parts" and "The Bad Parts" it's worth buying and you'll walk away a better developer. Last week I've also started reading "Deploying Rails Applications". It seems to be very interesting, although a lot of stuff in the beginning can be skipped if you're not a total novice (i.e. "how to create a database and set up database.yml"). I'm on page 70, and especially looking forward to the chapters about Capistrano, performance, scaling, and Nginx. On the side I'm reading "Mind Performance Hacks". It's a fun read, and I'm sure I'll be able to pick up a couple of useful techniques. And I got Aaron Hillegass' 3rd edition of "Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X" (it's pronounced "Ten", not "X"). I've read the wonderful 2nd edition already, but I want the read this 3rd edition soon because it also covers CoreData and CoreAnimation and XCode 3. Well, that's what I'm reading at the moment. One book I still want to get and read soon is "Beautiful Code". I hope you find one or two interesting books in my list. Please share your recommendations in the comments, I'm always eager to find out about new and exciting programming books... and that sounded geeky once again.


Jens said...

Great suggestions for the next book orders.

Thanks for posting.


July 28, 2008 03:23 PM


Please keep it clean, everybody. Comments with profanity will be deleted.

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