The best software book that I’ve read is undoubtedly Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship (Robert C. Martin), which changed my approach to programming entirely. Bob Martin’s highly readable examples really push home the strength’s of SOLID design principles, without being too abstract or dry unlike the original Gang of four Design patterns book
His follow up book The Clean Coder is worth a read, covering important “soft skills” that a good programmer should have in order to work with all stakeholders in a software project.
Effective C#: 50 Specific Ways to Improve Your C# provides a plethora of C# idioms and techniques, and importantly it shows the reader when to use them correctly and when their use is *not* appropriate. I discovered many efficient ways of writing code and I felt obliged to revisit some recently written code to apply my newly found knowledge.
Head First Design Patterns makes for a great way to become familiar with design patterns and understand the correct circumstances to use them. All the code examples in this book are in Java. Given that I started learning Java at university I’ve had little trouble applying the patterns in C#, as they are quite similar languages. I find that I revisit the book to refresh my memory, so it will serve you well as a reference book.
I was lucky to be recommended The Career Programmer: Guerilla Tactics for an Imperfect World by a software professional before I actually started working in the commercial world of programming, so it has influenced my working practises from day one. Focussing on how to deliver software projects in environments that are hostile to efficient work, this book will guide you how to become a productive and valued developer and make your boss love you (or at least appreciate you!)
Growing Object-Oriented Software, Guided by Tests is required reading if you intend to understand, appreciate, and get the best out of Test Driven Development.
I have been fortunate to attend a training course by the author of Specification by Example: How Successful Teams Deliver the Right Software, Gojko Adzic, when he came to my workplace. Although I’ve not yet read this book in its entirety (there is a copy on my desk) I can see it covers most of the topics I learnt in Gojko’s course. The implementation we chose as a result from the course was to use Specflow to write out our scenarios, as described on Steve Sanderson’s post
Speaking of Steve Sanderson, anyone who wants to write MVC.net web applications should read his book on the subject. Pro ASP.NET MVC 3 Framework 3rd Edition. If it is like the MVC 2 edition that I’ve read, he’ll bring you up to speed with MVC and show the benefits over ASP.Net web forms.
Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction while I haven’t read it cover to cover unlike most of the books I’ve described above, it does have some useful knowledge tucked away, yet it lacks the succinctness of Clean Code
Finally, I’m currently reading and enjoying Dependency Injection in .NET which is a pattern that can be extensively using in the MVC framework. The code examples in the book model accurately what I’ve used in production sites, so the book gets my seal of approval.
Do you have any suggestions? What do you think is should be essential in a web developer’s reading list? Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts
I’ve wanted to get a better handle on the Dependency Injection for a while, and discover what the optimal approaches are.
Dependency Injection In .Net by Mark Seemann is a great book on the subject, with good examples and clear writing. When new concepts are introduced, the author includes concise definitions and copious references for further reading. I recommended it, and I was particularly pleased to see the epub version on the book available in addition to pdf and .mobi formats!