Sunday, January 14, 2007

Bruce Tate's Gettysberg Address

Bruce Tate is a consultant probably best known for working on Java, and for publishing the book Beyond Java.

I recently read Bruce's more recent From Java to Ruby, while standing in the tech section of the San Rafael, California Borders store. Sorry, Bruce, that you won't get the royalties for this, but I just couldn't put it down.

This book has a lot of great content (not that I don't have a small bone to pick here or there ... if you really think .net is still Java's separated-at-birth-twin in 2006, you need to spend more time using it). But what really struck me was the elegance, brevity, comprehensiveness, and precision of the book. A few more writers like Bruce, and we could happily live without about 90% of the IT press.

In precise, minimalist language Bruce systematically looks at the where Java and Ruby came from; where they each excel; where they fall short; how they compare to their predecessors and contemporaries in various dimensions -- real, no nonsense dimensions that enterprise architects think about; and how to get started with Ruby (if you want to) with a fabulous insight into the organizational dynamics that would foster different kinds of Ruby trials.

You get the immediate and lasting impression that this is a guy who really has a valuable perspective on the long-term evolution of software engineering practice, from the Mythical Man Month through today's productivity push with things RoR, and on into the future.

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