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The Productive Programmer

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  805 ratings  ·  63 reviews
Anyone who develops software for a living needs a proven way to produce it better, faster, and cheaper. The Productive Programmer offers critical timesaving and productivity tools that you can adopt right away, no matter what platform you use. Master developer Neal Ford not only offers advice on the mechanics of productivity-how to work smarter, spurn interruptions, get th ...more
Paperback, 226 pages
Published July 10th 2008 by O'Reilly Media (first published January 1st 2008)
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Feb 11, 2015 rated it did not like it
Can be skipped. Basically this book doesn't suit me at all. Initially most of the tips are elaborately described for windows. Being a linux user , i had to skip those pages. Rest of the book talks about many good practices in a very shallow manner . In those pages author narrowed down to some particular languages (I had to skip pages again ) . Basically i expected a more theoretical and abstract approach which is completely missing in this book . Will explore some more books in this genre. ...more
Brian Yamabe
Jan 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
I had just read "Clean Code" and this book was not at all what I expected. Tips, tricks, and scripts for programmers. Not really about theory and practice of programmers. This is more nuts and bolts. Felt like a collection of blog posts to me. ...more
Jul 08, 2008 rated it liked it
Despite the three stars, this book actually contains a lot of useful material. It was just "OK" for me personally. It's not that I don't think this book offers good advice - it's just that for me it was just "preaching to the choir" so to speak and I didn't really take a lot new away from it. But for those who don't have as many years under their belt it definitely offers some useful strategies to steer you in the right direction. ...more
May 29, 2009 rated it it was ok
I can agree with the core message of this book, which is you should always be looking for a better way to get your job done. That's a good message and this book has some decent examples of how to accomplish that.

However, it would concern me a little bit if a programmer finds that message to be groundbreaking. People use computers and write programs to simplify tasks and be more efficient, so if a programmer is not already of the mindset that things can and should constantly be improved and done
Ravi Sinha
Jul 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: professional, coding
Keyboard shortcuts. Focus. Automation. Good coding practices. Get stuff done in a tenth of the time it would otherwise take. Great book.
Chris Wood
Feb 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Why do some developers spend one week accomplishing what other developers complete in a day? The oft-heard "talent and skill" responses do little to address the root causes to inefficient programming and do not help such developers effectively improve. With this question in mind, The Productive Programmer by Neal Ford applies a productivity framework aimed at training developers to interact with the computing machine with a certain posture in which short term efficiencies are replaced with long ...more
Jul 06, 2015 rated it liked it
Much of it will not apply to any given reader; this is a necessity of this sort of book, and shouldn't be held against it as some reviewers seem to have done.

Read it swiftly, paying attention to the bits that are relevant to your situation for gradual incorporation into your workflow. If you implement one or two of the suggested changes -- for example, learning the keyboard shortcuts for the IDE or text editor of your choice, and incorporating code analysis tools in your development process -- y
Tim Andersen
Sep 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: programmers
Shelves: programming
This book is filled with many great tips and tools that help enhance productivity. It is a must read for those that want to make their computer do the work for them. Ever hear of the phrase: "work smarter, not harder?" -- this is how to work smarter. ...more
Jun 26, 2021 rated it liked it
The book provides several useful tips for programmers (search over navigation, don't reinvent the wheel, ...), many of which might look trivial to seasoned programmers, but which might be good to hear again once in a while.
At times the tone of the book is a bit patronizing though. It also contains many recommendations for specific software (which might be out of date already at the time you are reading it).
And it is riddled with anecdotes that might be somewhat fun to some readers, but are can b
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
A bunch of advices/recipes to be a productive programmer. Interestingly, I was practicing quite a few of them, whew :) While many of these recipes may be a bit dated given the improvements in software environments, being aware of the issues these recipes provide tackle and the resulting gains will helps programmers identify new recipes based on new features of environments to productively tackle similar issues. That said, I kept thinking "what would be the advices/recipes for the current world o ...more
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Read this a (long) time ago after attending a talk by Neal Ford that inspired me to buy the book. It didn't let down: I got the hang of things like clipboard history tools, practical tips to increase your programming speed (smart shortcut usage, more tooling, ...) etc. I know it might not be that theoretical and highly volatile as tools evolve VERY quickly, but it helped a lot at that time and got my mind set for that optimization that I'm always trying to aim for now. ...more
David Cross
May 10, 2017 rated it liked it
I should make more of an effort to read books when I first buy them. This has been sitting unread on my bookshelf since 2008. A lot of the more general advice is still pretty good, but when the author starts covering tools, it all looks a bit dated (for example, he promotes Subversion as the state of the art version control system).
Mohamed Abdelwahab
May 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: computer-science
A Very great book that had more helpful techniques for productive programmer ,
How to fast working, planning, analysis, debugging, Testing and team management.
Oct 14, 2020 rated it did not like it
not worth reading, too shallow and to obvious
Oct 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: programming
A bit outdated but still quite useful book.
Mar 16, 2021 rated it liked it
Coverage of the experience in software development obtained by the author during his work. The presentation is not systematic, as stated in the preface to the book.
Edwin Torres
Mar 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Has good points of view, but I think is not up to date according with the these days technologies.
Faheem Memon
May 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tech
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 09, 2008 rated it liked it
Honestly, I have to say I was surprised to see that (at the time of this writing) this book was averaging 4.5 stars on Amazon. I suppose my expectations of this book were heavily swayed by the title. I was expecting something a little more generic and high-level than what I got.

I think the book makes a decent attempt to provide the reader with 'recipes' that can be used to improve their efficiency and productivity. But the recipes themselves seem to be a little too free-flowing: by the time I go
Sud Ramasamy
Dec 30, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: tech
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 13, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: programmers
Shelves: technical
This is a 'glue' book. There are books about productivity tips and tricks, and there are books about good software design, and this book attempts to be the glue between them. It talks about what it means to be a productive programmer, both in terms of your toolset and in terms of your mindset. For the former, there are lots of links to various tools and productivity widgets that help you get things done. For the latter, there are discussions about programming tips and tricks.

This is good and ba
Francis Fish
Sep 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The book's intention is to help jobbing programmers get more productive by remembering what the command line is for - the GUI's and IDE's we use every day have put us far away from the power of this, and a lot of younger people only know the world of the mouse. In essence it passes on the knowledge that's being lost to make you more productive.

The Mechanics section talks about simple tricks and tools to accelerate your use of the keyboard and repetitive tasks. I have installed a number of useful
Sep 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: development
Written in an easy, readable style, The Productive Programmer is something of a Chimera—parts code cookbook, bits of code meta-commentary (and commentary on meta-code), ruminations on the future of software languages, and essay on the essential properties of good software development. Sometimes the writing comes across like extended riffing, and veers towards self-satisfied indulgence: the notes flow nicely, but the book contains melodies that could have been more clearly illuminated. However, a ...more
Jake McCrary
Jun 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: tech, read_2013
This book is a collection of a wide range of tips for being more productive. Tips range from encouragement to make it quicker to launch projects, attaining focus, and automation to general coding rules (DRY, right tool for the job, YAGNI).

Over the course of my career I've spent time refining my tools and environment to already achieve many of the things this book recommends. Because of that I don't think I really picked up anything new but through reading did realize I've been slacking lately in
Oct 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Nothing groundbreaking but a good and enjoyable read for any developer interested in improving his/her skillset.
First part of the book consists of practical productivity tips. Eg. how to make effective use of command line, which tools to use, presenting handy keyboard shortcuts etc.
The second part presents more fundamental advice on things like meta programming, being test driven and some agile/solid principles.
Any proud software craftsmen out there, you might be interested in reading this book
Jun 22, 2011 rated it liked it
This book is annoying. There's some useful content in here; too many tips and tricks to ignore the book completely. However, the content all but drowns in sloppy chit-chat and poor attempts at making jokes, as if all programmers are half-brained kids with serious attention deficiencies. Ironically, the attempts to make the material accessible and light to read achieves just the opposite for this reader. ...more
Patrick Stein
Jan 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: software
I have a vague feeling that I've read this before. Certainly, it held no surprises.

I am having trouble imagining who would find this book helpful. It has lots of good recommendations about how to use the available tools for programming better. But, if you're not the kind of person who's already looking around for ways to maximize the utility of your tools, then I'm not feeling you'd commit to using the recommendations here.

Dana Kashubeck
Aug 17, 2008 rated it it was ok
I am very anal and very organized. I'm totally into any productivity applications/advice. This book isn't bad. There are some really great tips in here and I would say it is worth a read. Will I refer back to it in the future? Probably not. Probably could have just borrowed from the library, if they'd had a copy. ...more
Alexander Petrov
Jun 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Awesome book!

My favorite points are:
- Test Driven Development. I use simple numbers example in my lectures. Here is my implementation of:
- Dietzler's Law. 80-10-10 Rule for 4GL and Java. I suppose BPM systems are modern 4GL.
- Google Desktop Search.

I like this book very much and recommend it to every developer, especially junior and middle.
Aug 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Good book, a bit dated but the gist of it is still relevant. The book is divided into different ways to become more productive, things that make you go faster (Accelerators), Tools and techniques to get and maintain focus. Software Processes like TDD, source control and OO. And Philosophies sucks as avoid repetition in your design (DRY) short book, worth the read.
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Neal Ford is Software Architect and Meme Wrangler at ThoughtWorks, a global IT consultancy with an exclusive focus on end-to-end software development and delivery. He is also the designer and developer of applications, instructional materials, magazine articles, courseware, video/DVD presentations, and author and/or editor of 5 books spanning a variety of technologies. He focuses on designing and ...more

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