Head First Software Development

Author: Dan Pilone
Publisher: O'Reilly, 2008
ISBN: 978-0596527358
Aimed at: Budding team leaders
Raing: 3.5
Pros:  Thought-provoking approach
Cons: Repetition of basic message without sufficient development
Reviewed by: Ian Elliot

You might already know what I think about Head First books – they are only suitable for the feeble-minded more used to reading comics. If on, the other hand, you think that the Head First “Brain Friendly” approach is wonderful you are going to disagree with my review. So why am I reviewing another Head First book? The reason is that “Software Development” is a topic that might just fit into the non-linear structure of a Head First approach. After all so many other books on software development deal with their subject by story telling, diagrams, and anecdotes, so an innovative freewheeling approach could work. And it very nearly does. This is a collection of stories about how to develop software by managing a team of less than perfect imaginary people. It consists of asides, lists, questions, key points, cartoons, photos etc. all put together in an effort to punch home the ideas. It teaches iterative development with a splash of common sense. If you want technicalities then they are relegated to the end - UML, Sequence diagrams, system tests v unit tests, refactoring etc. This is essentially about how to manage people and the development process to best meet a reasonable set of objectives and how to keep those objectives reasonable. Of all of the Head First books that I’ve looked at this one gets closest to succeeding but I still found the repetition of the fairly simple message tedious rather than helpful. If you want a book that will guide you through the management aspects of software development you might find this useful.

<Reviewed in VSJ>