Austin Computer Book Club

Vote: Our Aug. ’19 Book

Book selection time again! We’re selecting the book for our August meetup, so you’ll have an extra month of reading time over the summer. Our runner-up last time, Designed For Use, is back on the slate, plus a couple of new entries to choose from. Look over these selections and rank your preference using the form at the bottom of the post! Voting closes at noon on Wednesday, May 29.

Refactoring (2nd ed.) Refactoring, 2nd ed. by Martin Fowler

by Martin Fowler
448 pages, 2018, $48
On Goodreads; Amazon

For more than twenty years, experienced programmers worldwide have relied on Martin Fowler’s Refactoring to improve the design of existing code and to enhance software maintainability, as well as to make existing code easier to understand.

This eagerly awaited new edition has been fully updated to reflect crucial changes in the programming landscape. Refactoring, Second Edition, features an updated catalog of refactorings and includes JavaScript code examples, as well as new functional examples that demonstrate refactoring without classes.

Like the original, this edition explains what refactoring is; why you should refactor; how to recognize code that needs refactoring; and how to actually do it successfully, no matter what language you use.

Designed For Use Designed For Use, by Lukas Mathis

– Create Usable Interfaces for Applications and the Web, by Lukas Mathis
348 pages, 2016, $24-$38
On Goodreads; Amazon; Safari Books Online

This book is for designers, developers, and product managers who are charged with what sometimes seems like an impossible task: making sure products work the way your users expect them to. You’ll find out how to design applications and websites that people will not only use, but will absolutely love. The second edition brings the book up to date and expands it with three completely new chapters.

Interaction design—the way the apps on our phones work, the way we enter a destination into our car’s GPS—is becoming more and more important. Identify and fix bad software design by making usability the cornerstone of your design process.

Lukas weaves together hands-on techniques and fundamental concepts. Each technique chapter explains a specific approach you can use to make your product more user friendly, such as storyboarding, usability tests, and paper prototyping. Idea chapters are concept-based: how to write usable text, how realistic your designs should look, when to use animations.

Digital Minimalism Digital Minimalism, by Cal Newport

– Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World, by Cal Newport
304 pages, 2019, $14-$26
On Goodreads; Amazon

Drawing on a diverse array of real-life examples, from Amish farmers to harried parents to Silicon Valley programmers, Newport identifies the common practices of digital minimalists and the ideas that underpin them. He shows how digital minimalists are rethinking their relationship to social media, rediscovering the pleasures of the offline world, and reconnecting with their inner selves through regular periods of solitude. He then shares strategies for integrating these practices into your life, starting with a thirty-day “digital declutter” process that has already helped thousands feel less overwhelmed and more in control.

Technology is intrinsically neither good nor bad. The key is using it to support your goals and values, rather than letting it use you. This book shows the way.

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