Sebastopol, CA--Early power tools were built with steel casings, copper windings, and plenty of ball bearings, with an end result so solid that the tools were almost too heavy to lift. In spite of the tools' unwieldiness, tradesmen were quick to implement them, recognizing from the start that the boost in productivity these tools delivered would ensure a competitive edge in the marketplace. Although the power tools used in Windows software development are typically not unwieldy, they have something else in common with those first handheld tools: they've been snapped up eagerly by users who've seen in them the same promise of increased productivity, efficiency, and competitive edge.
"The software industry is a very competitive place, so it's critical for developers to find some edge over competition," says Jim Holmes, coauthor with James Avery of the newly released Windows Developer Power Tools (O'Reilly, US $59.99). The book is an encyclopedic guide to more than 170 free and open source programming tools, components, and frameworks contributed by 60 top Windows developers. It follows a unique task-oriented organization, presenting topics in the same order in which developers working on a project are likely to encounter them. More than simply listing the tools, Windows Developer Power Tools helps developers choose the right ones for solving both common and uncommon problems they face each day.
"This book helps folks learn where they can speed up their development, solve tough problems, and boost the quality of their code," Holmes continues. "There is a wealth of tools that can save them a lot of effort, particularly in areas they might not have thought about before."
Among the free and open source tools, utilities, and widgets available today, developers can find everything from complete frameworks that provide applications straight out of the box to tiny gadgets that do only small tasks, but do them very well. Avery and Holmes list other reasons why free and open source tools are so appealing: the large support networks existing for many of them; the creative passion behind the tools that isn't typically found in commercial software; no required number of licenses to purchase; and finally, the just-plain-coolness of the tools.
"You can delve into the source code and see how industry leaders like Charlie Poole, Ward Cunningham, or Ron Jeffries write their code," note Holmes and Avery. "That's an amazing resource to help you expand your knowledge and improve your own code."
The book was written primarily for .NET developers, but anyone who writes software for the Windows platform--Java, Ruby, PHP, and other developers--will find useful tools to help them in the tasks they do every day. The book includes forewords by Mike Gunderloy (Larkware) and Scott Hanselman (http://www.hanselman.com/tools), operators of the two most popular tools sites for Microsoft developers.
James Avery has been programming with Microsoft technologies for the last seven years and working with .NET since the second beta release. He is currently working as a consultant in the Cincinnati area building enterprise-level .NET applications. Avery has worked on a number of books, most recently ASP.NET Setup and Configuration Pocket Reference for Microsoft Press. He's also written articles for MSDN magazine, ASPToday, and is a frequent blogger. Avery has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP, ASPInsider, and is an MCSD.NET.
Jim Holmes, a Microsoft MVP, has nearly 25 years experience in the IT industry, including network management, systems analysis, and software development in Perl, Java, C++, and .NET. He's the founder of the Dayton .NET Developers Group and co-founder of the Dayton-Cincinnati Code Camp. He's a frequent blogger and writes a weekly column for VisualStudioHacks.com.
Background and Market Information:
Windows Developer Power Tools
James Avery and Jim Holmes
ISBN: 0-596-52754-3, 1263 pages, $59.99 US, $77.99 CA
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