Monthly Archives: October 2009

Book Review – Solid Code: Optimizing the Software Development Life Cycle

Lately I’ve been making time to read more again, and I thought I’d share my findings. My most recent read is Solid Code: Optimizing the Software Development Life Cycle by Donis Marshall and John Bruno. My feelings about this book are mixed. On the one hand, it gives a good overview of software engineering practices. On the other hand, an overview is all that it is. It doesn’t really do a good job at giving any details. That said, I think it is a good read for junior/medior developers to get a sense of all the stuff they should be aware of when building software. For senior developers and architects a quick scan to see if they have a gap somewhere is enough. From there you can explore books specialized at the topic(s) you need to know more about. Some of the topics covered include, design, testing, performance, scalabiltity, and security

As an aside, I’ve read several books now that cover Agile development methodologies. What strikes me everytime is that the given examples are always about product development, and this book is no different. Product development and custom software projects however are very different. In product development you can work with fixed budget and fixed time, and cut features if either budget or time doesn’t allow you to create them. Custom software projects can’t do this as easily. Clients are not going to give you a bag of money and a schedule and say “we’ll see what makes it into the final version”. The client wants to know what he/she is going to get for the money they pay. This means that in custom software projects, you need to have a much more detailed view up front of what needs to be implemented. I’m not saying this precludes Agile development practices, but there is a certainly a difference at the start of the project, because a large chunk of the design work has to be done earlier in the project lifecycle.