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Actionable Books

Actionable Books LogoI know from just about everywhere that people just aren’t that in to reading anymore. Even when people are consuming books, audio books are a growing segment. From recent data that I looked up, the median number of books consumed per year is just 5. Half the people in America consumed less than five books last year. I typically average around a book a week. Are they all code-related? No. They aren’t even all non-fiction. I read quite a bit of fiction as an outlet for my imagination, as I watch less and less TV every year. I know that I’m not typical, so I want to try to be a little pragmatic here.

I came across a site called Actionable Books. This site has a section called “Summaries” where you can read people’s “Actionable Summaries” of books. At the time that I’m writing this, there are summaries for “1005 Top Business Books”. The way that the site works is that people read the books and they summarize the gist of the book, called “The Golden Egg”. Then, they also find two “Gems” from the book (accompanied by quotes). Here is a link to the summary of Good to Great by Jim Collins, so you can check out what I mean.

For the vast majority of business books, this site is amazing. I’ve long been a critic of these “single shot” business books. Typically, the author will have an idea that is good for 2-3 chapters, tops. After that, he’s beating a dead horse to try to hit some word count. For those kinds of books, Actionable Books is perfect. They’ll distill it down for you and you can get the idea without reading 200 pages of fluff.

For books that actually are full of value, you can read the summary and then – seeing the value – buy the whole thing. It is like a Book Review++++. So, if you are like me and like to read business books to build up your soft skills and business acumen, but don’t want to risk wasting your time with “low fat” books, check out Actionable Books.

Podcast Episode 48 – Coding is the Easy Part

Easy ButtonIn this episode, I take a look at a question that I ran across, “Is Coding the Easy Part?” I engage that question and take a look at everything that developers need to do to create quality software and try to figure out where the actual “writing code” part falls in the rankings.


Links Mentioned in this Show:
Quick Draw With Google

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Down is the New Up

Down is the New UpWhat a time to be a .Net Developer. It used to be that one had to hang your head in certain circles when you were asked about your job. Admitting that you programmed in the Microsoft stack was seen as “less than cool”. All the cool kids were programming in Ruby, Node, Haskell, etc. Pick your poison. It was more popular than ever to write the “Why I’m Leaving .Net” blog post and just vamoose.

Recently, however, Microsoft has been changing ever since Satya Nadella has taken over. In reality, some of the changes started even before his arrival, but they have been leaping forward recently. .Net is Open Source, Microsoft projects are on GitHub and being developed in the open, and .Net has finally fulfilled its promise and is fully cross platform. You can develop full .Net apps on Windows, Linux, or the Mac and you can share the projects between the three without much issue.

Microsoft is now a Platinum Sponsor of the Linux Foundation. That means that Microsoft donates $500,000 annually to help the development of Linux, which is the highest level of sponsorship alongside Oracle, HP, IBM, and others. Google has joined the .Net Foundation to help steer .Net into the future.

TypeScript has gotten some wide adoption. After being made fun of for trying to “un-JavaScript JavaScript”, now some major JS players are using TypeScript. The Angular team at Google eschewed Dart (Google’s own thing) in favor of TypeScript. What is even happening to the world?

SQL Server is on Linux (in preview at the time I write this). That says almost everything there.

Visual Studio is available for the Mac (also in preview). I’m not talking about VS Code, I’m talking full Visual Studio.

The other night, I took a shot at this brave new world. I installed Linux Mint 18 Sarah (MATE version) in a virtual machine on my iMac and attempted to get a fully functional ASP.Net MVC site up and running. I will admit that the tooling is not quite there yet and I did spend about three hours on the entire process, but I learned a lot. There were some versioning issues, but I finally now have a complete working toolchain using VS Code, .Net Core, npm, and tools like Yeoman. Here was my first console application that I wrote:

My first working .Net app on Linux

After that, I got Yeoman installed and configured:

Yeoman on Linux

Finally, I was able to generate an ASP.Net MVC 6 site running on .Net Core developed and running on a Linux box that I set up.

An ASP.Net MVC Site on Linux

The future is here. As Apple continues to get more and more evil and not care about its customers, Microsoft is seeking newer and newer ways to engage developers across all spectrums. Honestly, engaging developers is always what they’ve done well. Now, they are just taking it to the next level. I can’t wait to get more and more of these kinds of applications into production and to be able to hold my head high and say that I’m a .Net Developer. I’m still waiting to read the first “Why I left Node for .Net” post, though 😉

Podcast Episode 47 – WWDC 2016

WWDC 2016The World Wide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) is like the Super Bowl for Apple Developers. Thousands of developers vie to get a ticket and even those without tickets still go to San Francisco and attend ancillary events. As I’ve done the last few years, I watch the keynote and distill it down for you so you can trade 2 hours of your life for about 15 minutes of wrap up 😉

Links Mentioned in this Show:
NES Classic Edition

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C# 6 Features – Nameof Expressions

Name BadgeIn the latest post on my series about C# 6’s features, I want to look at nameof expressions. There are times when you need the string value of variables or methods or classes in your code. That could be to return an argument exception, it could be to have some sort of property changed notification, or it could even be to get the string value of an enumeration value.

Previously, you had to either have “magic strings” in your application or any number of tricks to abstract away what are basically the magic strings. If you changed the name of a variable, parameter, method, class, or enum, nothing would ensure that you went back and updated your “magic strings”. Perhaps if you had written very finely-grained unit tests (and you remembered to update those when you changed a variable name), you might get a warning, but that is a tremendous amount of discipline. That’s where C# 6 is here to save our bacon.

As an example, here is something we might have done previously

You can see how I could change the parameter name from foo to something else and the compiler won’t care if I fix the call to ArgumentNullException() or not. However, nameof fixes and prevents that.

The benefit here is that if I change the parameter and forget to change nameof(foo) like this:

You actually will get a compile time error that says “The name ‘foo’ does not exist in the current context”. Some people hate using the compiler as a unit test, but I don’t. It is basically “round one” of testing. I think the issue arises when it is the the only means of testing used, but it is just another tool in the toolbox that we should use.

As I mentioned earlier, you can use it to get the names of classes, methods, and it lets you stop the SomeEnum.SomeValue.ToString() madness. It is the same syntax and would look like this

As I said at the beginning of this series, much of C# 6’s features aren’t mind-blowing, but instead are small improvements to help smooth out some edges. Are you using nameof? Are you going to when you get the chance?

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