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Context, Mastery, the Space Program, Ruby, Scala, and Python: PragPub #14.

August 04, 2010

What better way to spend a lazy summer day than to kick back with the August issue of PragPub magazine? We’ve also improved our screencast formats to take advantage of the iPad and iPhone 4, and revamped our book categories at

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Context, Mastery, the Space Program, Ruby, Scala, and Python

This issue’s lead article is a thought-provoking essay by Pragmatic Programmer Andy Hunt on the ways in which your context influences you.

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“You are a product of your times,” Andy explains, “perhaps much more so than you think. The attitudes, philosophies, and values of your parents and your cohorts have a tremendous impact on your values, attitudes, and perceptions. Folks born at different times will experience the world in very different ways.”

In another assumption-challenging essay, Ben Scofield argues that we may be setting ourselves up for disappointment by reaching for mastery in areas where it is not appropriate. Sometimes, as computer executive and philosopher Adam Osborne famously said, “adequacy is sufficient.”

We have two code-rich articles, too. Adam Goucher brings the Page Object pattern to Python programming. And Paul Butcher shows some clever techniques for automated testing, coding them in both Ruby and Scala.

Dan Wohlbruck takes us back to the early days of the space program with an article on the first computer in space. And John Shade reflects on the propensity for software developers to issue manifestos—and concludes that they aren’t going far enough.

Free to read and share at

New, Larger Screencasts for the iPad and iPhone 4

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We’ve gone through our screencasts and released new, higher resolution versions for the iPad and for the iPhone 4. At the same time, we know that Quicktime on Snow Leopard has a problem handling .mov files encoded using the Animation codec, so we’ve reencoded all of these to use H.264. Now iPad users will see larger screencasts, and Snow Leopard users shouldn’t see any delayed screen updates.

Log on to your account to download fresh versions, or buy ones you’ve missed at

Pragmatic Studio Fall 2010 Schedule

Our fall 2010 training schedule is finalized so you can pick the dates and locations that work best for you. Make sure to get a seat early!

Ruby on Rails

  • Aug 18-20 in Santa Clara, CA
  • Sept 22-24 in Reston, VA
  • Oct 25-27 in Chicago, IL

Learn how to design and build high-quality web applications from the pros: Dave Thomas and Chad Fowler. This popular introductory course has been updated for Rails 3 to help you make the most of the latest features. So, whether you’re just getting into Rails or need to bring your team up to speed quickly, this course is for you. Details available at

iPhone/iPad Programming

  • Aug 17-20 in Santa Clara, CA
  • Oct 25-28 in Chicago, IL

Learn how to effectively use Xcode, Interface Builder, Objective-C, and the Cocoa Touch libraries to create full-featured iPhone/iPad apps. This course has been updated for iOS 4, and is taught by Matt Drance and Daniel Steinberg. If you’re a programmer new to iPhone development, or you’ve started building an iPhone app and need help putting all the pieces together, this course is for you. Details available at

Clojure Programming

  • Sept 13-15 in Reston, VA

Clojure is quickly gaining speed as a dynamic programming language with the elegance of a good scripting language and the concurrent power of the Java Virtual Machine. Learn what could be the future of programming from two experts: Rich Hickey, the creator of the language, and Stuart Halloway, author of Programming Clojure. Details available at

Coming Soon:

  • The Pragmatic Guide series
  • iPad Programming: A Quick-Start Guide for iPhone Developers in print
  • The RSpec Book: Behaviour Driven Development with RSpec, Cucumber, and Friends in print. Updated for Rails 3 and RSpec 2

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Thanks for your continued support,

Dave & Andy

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