Recommended Book: Apprenticeship Patterns
I'm not a fan of the Software Craftsmanship movement. Well, I do love the goals and the principles behind it but I kinda dislike the terminology they've chosen to try to spread those goals and principles. It has this elitist connotation to it which just rubs a lot of people the wrong way. Instead of trying to pull people in to the concept of continuous improvement, this whole "i'm an apprentice! I'm a journeyman! I'm a master!" thing just makes us look kinda stupid. It's just rather off-putting to many of the people we ought to try to reach. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if this movement would've gotten more traction and less blog-o-drama if they'd simply called themselves the Continuous Improvement movement. No silly metaphors that don't hold up in this day and age, no titles to be earned, no roles to be played. Just people continuously trying to get better and helping others to improve as well. Which sort of captures the essence of it, no? Alas, Software Craftsmanship it is.
It is with that opinion in mind that I was at first hesitant to read Apprenticeship Patterns: Guidance for the Aspiring Software Craftsman. But when I glanced over the table of contents, I couldn't help but think that this is the kind of stuff I wished was available when I first started my career. So I figured I had to give it a shot. And I'm glad I did. It's a very quick read (only 168 pages) but it does have a lot of great advice for people who want to become better developers. The only downside about this book is that you have to continuously read about the whole apprentice/journeyman/master thing. If the authors had left out the craftsmanship-fantasy and background, they probably could've gotten the exact same amount of great advice in just about 100 pages.
But again, despite the issues I have with the craftsmanship terminology, the actual content of this book is fantastic. I've been applying a lot of those patterns over the past couple of years and they've benefited me greatly. And there are a couple of them that I really want to incorporate in my 'routine' as well. By reading this book, you'll either learn a lot about how you can make yourself better or if you feel like you're already there, you'll at least know of a reference to pass to other people you want to assist on their journey of Continuous Improvement. I'm sorry, I meant their apprenticeship. It really is a blueprint to becoming a Jedi. I'm sorry, I meant master craftsman. Or just a very valuable and great developer.
Written by Davy Brion, published on 3/1/2011 12:20:53 AM