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Design - Build - Run: Applied Practices and Principles for Production Ready Software Development [Paperback]

Dave Ingram

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Book Description

Feb. 24 2009 Wrox Programmer to Programmer
This unique and critical book shares no-fail secrets for building software and offers tried-and-true practices and principles for software design, development, and testing for mission-critical systems that must not fail. A veteran software architect walks you through the lifecycle of a project as well as each area of production readiness—functionality, availability, performance and scalability, operability, maintainability, and extensibility, and highlights their key concepts.

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Design - Build - Run

Applied Practices and Principles for Production-Ready Software Development

What is the secret to successful software development? Veteran software architect Dave Ingram believes that a true success story is a project that delivers a system with all the required functionality, on time and within budget. In this book, Ingram shares his secrets to building software that must not fail and he explains why everything developers do during the process of software development impacts the overall outcome of a project.

Serving as a guide to designing and building production-ready software from the start, this book examines the entire process and the tools needed to develop and test applications. You'll look at the environments and circumstances in which a system could be used and how to make certain that it's fit for these purposes. Most importantly, the book covers the practices and patterns you can leverage during design and development to improve software quality, lower the total cost of ownership, and ensure that it is truly production-ready. With a thorough understanding of what is involved in designing, building, and running large-scale software systems, you'll enhance your skills for building successful solutions.

What you will learn from this book

  • What production-readiness means and all the quality characteristics that software needs to meet

  • Key patterns and practices that ensure systems are designed and built to be production-ready and meet required standards and practices

  • How to design for resilience, batch, performance, monitoring, incident investigation, reporting, application maintenance, testing, and deployment

  • The pros and cons of using various tools and technologies and how to use them effectively

  • Techniques for reviewing and testing a prototype

  • Ways to plan the logical architecture and model the application

Who this book is for

This book is for software developers of all levels—from programmers through to software architects—who are interested in learning all aspects related to building production-ready systems. Familiarity with software designs and development practices is essential.

Wrox guides are crafted to make learning programming languages and technologies easier than you think. Written by programmers for programmers, they provide a structured, tutorial format that will guide you through all the techniques involved.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  22 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Smart author, bad book. Oct. 8 2009
By eyecore - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
At first, I was reading this pretty closely, as I've been involved in the designing, development, architecture, testing, deploying, etc. of systems for years, and anything to add to the arsenal of ideas is always welcome.

As chapter after chapter went on, I came to realize that the author, who is obviously smart and well versed in a swath of various ideas, and technologies kept repeating the same mantra over and over without actually bringing something new to the conversation. After that, while still reading the book, it was mostly skimming, and cringing every time I saw the same couple buzzwords of phrases that are repeated ad nauseum throughout.

If you're a software architect, you already know what's in this book.
If you're a software engineer, you do too.
If you're a product manager...this book might help to understand the full cycle and all the intertwined pieces. (However, in all my positions, the product manager has always been fully aware of the reaches and impacts the software to the business - that's really part of their job.)

I really couldn't recommend this book to anyone except maybe somebody right out of college that might want a better understanding of the full cycle and implications of implementations. (It's not about how fast you can slam out code, bug-free or not...) Or maybe some business folks that want a higher-level understanding of the systems, but don't really need to know much of anything in particular.

I've purchased plenty of Wrox books in the past, and this one, I'm sorry to say, just doesn't bring anything useful to the table that a professional in the field (the audience that Wrox publishes for) wouldn't already know.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not terrible but not great Oct. 21 2009
By B.L. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I'm in agreement with some of the other reviewers on this book that I found it very difficult to get a sense of the purpose of what I was reading. The level of detail, and how much it assumed you already know, varies widely. I don't think one other reviewer was terribly inaccurate when bringing up the idea of this book as a textbook. It's written in a very similar style to what you don't typically see outside of textbooks and technical papers.

The best thing about this book, in my view, is the attitude the author takes toward software development. His consistent message is that quality and being ready for use isn't just about the software itself, but about making sure that the software is appropriate for and will work in the environment that you intend. He does a great job of breaking things down point by point and addresses a huge number of factors.

As I read, however, it was often a little bit difficult to get a real grasp of how to put the material into practice. There are times that he uses actual case studies to talk about what's important and where the focus should be, but much of the time it feels a little bit like I'm being assaulted by bullet points. They're a great tool for breaking up multiple points on a topic in a way that clearly separates them, but they're used so heavily here that it ended up feeling like it was difficult to absorb much of the material.

I think the main problem here is the tension between being a guidebook and being a reference book. It presents itself as a guide book and does provide some useful explanations along those lines, but they then pack information and suggestions in so tightly that it ends up being dragged off in the reference book direction and making the larger themes needlessly difficult to absorb.

I have to say that I also think this book greatly oversells the current potential for creating software that "must not fail". While some companies certainly try, the process of designing flawless software just isn't a solved problem yet if it ever will be. Even with the incredible amount of time and effort put into software for NASA they've still been known to run into problems. In general companies and programming teams are constantly having to weigh decisions on the cost of being certain something will be perfect compared to the risks that it will go wrong if they make a mistake. When talking about "applied practices and principles", I think more attention needs to be spent on how to balance the best possible practices with maintaining a timeline.

I think that this is going to be better as a textbook or reference book for the vast majority of people. I can certainly see someone keeping it on their bookshelf so that it's available to flip to a specific chapter and get some suggestions on how to deal with an issue on a project. For the average person who's interested in improving their understanding of how to go from blank screen to solid software, I think this book is so dense with information that you're more likely to walk away feeling a bit dizzy rather than feeling informed.

Also, for those screen shots and code samples that are included, they tend to focus heavily on Microsoft products. In most cases this makes very little difference, but at times he does make specific reference to Microsoft tools and portions of the interface to the Windows operating system. Your level of familiarity with that environment may affect how easy it is for you to follow the explanations at times. Also, the code samples you get from the book's website is intended to work only with Microsoft Visual Studio 2008. It's always disappointing when a publisher of technology books doesn't make it clear in their descriptions what technologies they expect you to have at hand.

I should also add that while this is part of the "Wrox Programmer to Programmer" series, and they say it's suitable for anyone "from programmers through to software architects", I would really recommend it almost exclusively for the software architect end of the spectrum. Programmers who have a particularly strong interest in the architecture may certainly appreciate it, but for a typical programmer there are better sources on this topic out there.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lots of info; painfully dry Jan. 19 2010
By Bemace - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
As a computer programmer I've read my share of dry, technical books. This book however, I just couldn't do. It seems overly verbose and has numerous contributions from the Department of Redundancy Department. The author clearly knows what he's talking about but it just didn't seem to flow well. A few hundred less bullet points might help here. Eventually I was just reading the chapter summaries, where the bullet points felt more appropriate. If you're going to read this book, that'd actually be the way to do it. Read the take-aways at the end of each chapter, and if anything catches your interest, go back and read that part of the chapter.

I was hoping to get some insights into working on larger projects but the only people I can really see appreciating this book are the really hardcore software architects working on huge projects. On the other hand, I'd think they'd know this stuff already. Certainly there is good information in it for everyone, but for most of us the signal to noise ratio is just too low.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent, If a Bit Jumbled In Delivery Dec 17 2009
By John Nolley II - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Let me disclose that I'm not typically a huge fan of the Wrox to begin with; I tend to prefer the O'Reilly texts on software topics when available. However, given my current role at work--as a Lead Engineer, I'm responsible for both the "dirty" work of actual programming as well as much of the architecture, testing, and evaluation phases of production--I felt I'd give this book a try.

I never could really find the right "pace" with "Design - Build - Run," though, and I blame the book itself for much of that. The level of granularity and detail at which the topics within are addressed varies greatly (even within chapters), and there were many places I found myself wondering exactly why I needed to be told what the author stated. In fact, I'd almost characterize "Design - Build - Run" as an overview of things most of us already know and should be putting into practice; a lot of it read just like the computer-based training "courses" my employer offers us each year on software architecture and engineering (which I don't particularly find engaging or all that useful). It's a far cry, though, from the sort of material I'd expect to be covered in even a bachelor-level program in Software Engineering, and it's not quite a survey of industry best practices and use cases, either.

The author even admits to some of this varying focus in stating the book isn't a project management reference, nor a compendium of technology-specific best practices. He then goes on to state that the book focuses on the technical aspects of production-ready software development (and, let's be honest: given the timeframes and budgets of the vast majority of software development projects, creating "production-ready" code is really the goal of almost every development team). However, I didn't find the book all that technical where I felt it needed to be, and in other places, the level of attention to technical detail was needlessly involved.

Personally, for a more-focused look at best practices, I'd suggest Steve McConnell's fantastic Rapid Development: Taming Wild Software Schedules. Yes, "Design - Build - Run" covers broader ground than McConnell's book... but as both a developer and an architect (and now increasingly a project manager) I found his text much more applicable to my day-to-day job.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nicely Done Nov. 24 2009
By J. Sullivan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
"Design - Build - Run" reminds me of a course in Systems Analysis and Design that I had taken: it covers dry, but essential material. It is an easy read, yet there's a lot to digest, and thanks to the author's "just the facts" approach, all of it pertinent to the subject matter.

Dave Ingram has had work cut out for him putting this monster together, and he delivered a concisely assembled manual for an effective software developer. The material focuses on proper procedures, and in doing so highlights many of the little caveats and pitfalls one might come across without sufficient planning throughout all stages of the software lifecycle.

I really like this book. It is an excellent, thorough reference, both well written and easy to comprehend.

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