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The ThoughtWorks Anthology: Essays on Software Technology and Innovation (Pragmatic Programmers)
by ThoughtWorks Inc.

Pragmatic Bookshelf
1 edition
March 2008
248 pages

Reviewed by Ulf Dittmer, May 2008
  (7 of 10)

This collection of 13 essays written by various ThoughtWorks (a software consulting company) employees covers a wide range of software development topics. There's no overarching theme - the essays are meant to present current thinking on issues that are being thought about nowadays even if they're maybe not on everybody's mind.

Some essays focus purely on the programming (e.g. domain-specific languages, object design, domain annotations and the mix-and-match of languages that's possible with the JVM and CLR), while the majority addresses issues of the development process. That includes agile testing, performance testing, iteration management, improving the build and release processes and project tracking, amongst others. Some source code in various languages is shown throughout the book, but all is explained, and can be understood even without knowing that particular language.

The depth and style of the essays varies widely, since no two chapters are written by the same author. While all of them should be of interest to any developer or development manager, not many may be applicable to a particular reader's situation. For this reviewer, 4 out of 13 essays were very interesting or directly applicable; that's enough to make the book worthwhile reading. Particularly a chapter about domain annotations (using Java's annotations and .Net's attributes not for code management or deployment purposes, but for issues arising from the problem domain) provided food for much thought.

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