Review written by: Vinay Mutha Director, Technical Services Dynamic Consulting Vinay@DynamicResources.com [...]
Cambridge University Press is publishing a new book named Mastering ENVY/Developer. This book addresses a long-standing need of the Smalltalk developer community. It also proves that, despite claims to the contrary by some vested interests, Smalltalk community is still thriving. Recently I got a chance to look at the manuscript of this book.
This original work is an in-depth exploration of ENVY/Developer, IBM's team programming environment for Smalltalk and Java. This book is written by well-known experts in the area, viz. Joseph Pelrine of Daedalos Consulting, Switzerland, Alan Knight of Cincom and Adrian Cho of OTI (IBM).
In the first part Pelrine, Knight and Cho introduce the basics that a developer or development manager must know to use ENVY in a project setting. The second part covers advanced programming and customization, including detailed information on administering, troubleshooting, and extending the tools. The book presents both introductory and advanced topics with detailed examples. It also includes lot of useful information about the development process and the organization of applications. The authors treat VisualAge for Smalltalk, VisualWorks, and VisualAge Generator in detail. In addition, the concepts and management they present apply to VisualAge for Java. Additional features are code examples, tools, and add-ons, on CD-ROM.
Dave Thomas (of OTI fame and not the Wendy's founder) will be writing a forward to this book. This book will be part of the SIGS Series: Advances in Object Technology. I am certainly looking forward to its publication in 2001. The book price is $39.95, but the publishers are offering it for a discounted price of $31.96.
The CONTENTS of the book include: 1. Getting started 2. Basic concepts and operations 3. Team Development 4. Advanced Development 5. Packaging, testing and delivery issues 6. Extending and customizing the system 7. Administration 8. Goodies 9. Packaging 10. Troubleshooting
The book also has an Appendix containing a Selected Annotated API of ENVY System Classes. Although authors refer to this as an API, many of these classes and methods are not well documented and have changed over time. That is why this appendix becomes very useful, as it gives very useful information needed for advanced programming tasks which is not easily available elsewhere. Another wonderful part is the creation of Glossary of envy terms. As many of these terms look and mean very similar to regular English words but may not have exact similar meaning in the context of ENVY.
It is amazing to see how these authors have compiled so much detailed information and still kept the number of pages down to only 350. What I like most about this book is that it clearly marks things that are applicable to a particular dialect of Smalltalk, say VisualWorks. This allows the developers to concentrate on their project and the applications they are working on in a no-nonsense way. It also gives you knowledge about how to tackle major problem areas in software development throughout the development cycle. E.g. 1. Managing the software components developed by different developers in the team. 2. Software versioning and development history management. 3. Software configuration and the management of the different releases. 4. Properly controlling the changes made by the developers without letting the quality and quantity of the work suffer.
This book is available on amazon.com. On amazon it lists the third author as Jan Steinman, who was initially supposed to co-author this book. Unfortunately, Jan had to drop out for personal reasons, so he was replaced by Adrian Cho of OTI (IBM). This turned out pretty good too, because Adrian has been principle developer of ENVY at OTI for a number of years, and has direct experience with all the code including the internals. The book is scheduled to be published in February 2001. You can reserve your copy even now with either amazon or the publisher directly.