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The Developer's Code (audio book): What Real Programmers Do


Cover image for The Developer's Code (audio book)

The Developer's Code (audio book)

What Real Programmers Do


You’re already a great coder, but awesome coding chops aren’t always enough to get you through your toughest projects. You need these 50+ nuggets of wisdom. Reinvigorate your passion for developing applications and think about your job in new and enlightened ways.

Adapted Audio Book; m4b (iTunes), mp3 and ogg formats. Also available in paperback and ebook formats.

Listen to an excerpt.


  • Audio books are DRM free.

About this Title

Available in: DRM-free iTunes Audiobook, MP3 audio, and Theora Ogg
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Adapted Audio Book; m4b (iTunes), mp3 and ogg formats. Also available in paperback and ebook formats.

Listen to an excerpt.

The Developer’s Code isn’t about the code you write, it’s about the code you live by.

There are no trite superlatives here. Packed with lessons learned from more than a decade of software development experience, author Ka Wai Cheung takes you through the programming profession from nearly every angle to uncover ways of sustaining a healthy connection with your work.

You’ll see how to stay productive even on the longest projects. You’ll create a workflow that works with you, not against you. And you’ll learn how to deal with clients whose goals don’t align with your own. If you don’t handle them just right, issues such as these can crush even the most seasoned, motivated developer. But with the right approach, you can transcend these common problems and become the professional developer you want to be.

In more than 50 nuggets of wisdom, you’ll learn:

  • Why many traditional approaches to process and development roles in this industry are wrong—and how to sniff them out.
  • Why you must always say “no” to the software pet project and open-ended timelines.
  • How to incorporate code generation into your development process, and why its benefits go far beyond just faster code output.
  • What to do when your client or end user disagrees with an approach you believe in.
  • How to pay your knowledge forward to future generations of programmers through teaching and evangelism.
  • If you’re in this industry for the long run, you’ll be coming back to this book again and again.

“This is the next Pragmatic Programmer: a guide for the beginner, a reminder for the expert, and a wonderful chunk of wisdom about the craft (and life) of a developer.
—Derek Sivers, Founder of CD Baby,


Contents & Extracts

Adapted Audio Book; m4b (iTunes), mp3 and ogg formats. Also available in paperback and ebook formats.

Listen to an excerpt.

  • Introduction
  • Metaphor
    • Follow Metaphors with Care
    • Plan Enough, then Build
    • Launch is Just the First Release
    • The “Ivory Tower” Architect is a Myth
    • Throw Away Your Old Code
    • Diversification Over Specialization
    • Metaphors Hide Better Ways of Working
  • Motivation
    • The Perks are in the Work
    • Begin Where You Love to Begin
    • Be Imperfect
    • Stop Programming
    • Test Your Work First Thing in the Morning
    • Work Outside the Bedroom
    • First Impressions are Just That
    • The Emotional Value of Launch
    • Find an Argument
  • Productivity
    • Just Say “No” to the Pet Project
    • Constrain All of Your Parameters
    • Cut the Detail Out of the Timeline
    • Improve Your Product in Two Ways Daily
    • Invest in a Good Work Environment
    • Keep a Personal To-Do List
    • Create “Off-Time” with Your Team
    • Work in Small, Autonomous Teams
    • Eliminate the “We” in Productivity
  • Complexity
    • Sniff Out Bad Complexity
    • The Simplicity Paradox
    • Complexity as a Game of Pick-Up Sticks
    • Keep Complexity Under the Surface
    • Hard to Code Might Mean Hard to Use
    • Know When to Refactor
    • Develop a Programming Cadence
  • Teaching
    • Teaching is Unlike Coding
    • Beware the “Curse of Knowledge”
    • Teach with Obvious Examples
    • Lie to Simplify
    • Encourage Autonomous Thought
  • Clients
    • The Tough Client is Ubiquitous
    • Demystify the Black Magic of Software
    • Define the Goals of Your Application
    • Be Enthusiastic and Opinionated
    • Be Forgiving and Personable
    • Value is Much More than Time
    • Respect Your Project Manager
  • Code
    • Write Code as a Last Resort
    • A Plug-in Happy Culture
    • Code is the Ultimate Junior Developer
    • Separate Robot Work from Human Work
    • Generating Code at Its Core
    • The Case for Rolling Your Own
  • Pride
    • We Have a Marketing Problem
    • Lessons from the Cooking Industry
  • Bibliography


Ka Wai Cheung is a developer, designer, and founding partner at We Are Mammoth, an award-winning team of web developers as passionate about approachability as they are about technology.

Ka Wai is also the co-author of Flash Application Design Solutions: The Flash Usability Handbook.

Don Fernando Azevedo, Ph.D. is a voice talent, clinical psychologist, executive coach, and leadership trainer with 25 years of experience working with individuals, families, work teams, and Fortune 500 companies worldwide. In 2012 he founded Bear Cave Audio with his son, Ben, as his audio engineer and creative director. He lives in Cary, NC with Janice, his wife of 30 years; his daughter, Kym; and their dog, Tug.