Hack not this book

I’m sure there’s a pun in there somewhere that combines Steal this Computer Book (a self-styled book about network hacking) with Hacknot (a website about software development, by the anonymous Mr Ed). But regardless, the Hacknot book, which should be available sometime this month (which means they’re cutting it a bit fine already) can be downloaded for free as a PDF from the author’s website.

The book contains essays on software development that have previously appeared on Hacknot, dating back to July 2003. It’s 200-ish pages of software wisdom: and whether you wait for the pulped-tree edition to be available, or download the free PDF – or simply read the articles on Mr Ed’s website, for that matter – these are all essays that deserve to be read.

The downloads are available in two page sizes: 6” x 9” (296 pages) and A4 (163 pages, with text in 2 columns). The second format is, of course, ideal for those who’d prefer to print the thing out and read it on the train (or in front of a roaring fireplace this Christmas; or by torchlight on the roof while Santa-spotting).

Example essays include: The A to Z of Programmer Predilections, The Hazards of Being Quality Guy, Corporate Pimps: Dealing with Technical Recruiters, and Extreme Deprogramming. These are all well written and thought-provoking essays.

Sensibly, Mr Ed has slapped a Creative Commons license on the book. This means you can read and distribute it for free, but doing unsavory things like modifying it and/or passing it off as your own work, is strictly verboten.

Highly recommended, whether you grab the free download or wait for the in-print version.

About the Author

Matt Stephens is a senior architect, programmer and project leader based in Central London. He co-wrote Agile Development with ICONIX Process, Extreme Programming Refactored, and Use Case Driven Object Modeling with UML - Theory and Practice.

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