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Practical Programming; The Retrospective Handbook

September 18, 2013

Happy birthday today to Jean Bernard Léon Foucault (1819), inventor of the eponymous Foucault pendulum. Foucault was planning on studying medicine, but fortunately for us he switched to physics because he was afraid of blood.

Speaking of studying, for those who need to learn how to develop software, we're proud to announce the second edition of Practical Programming: An Introduction to Computer Science Using Python 3. It's been very popular with undergrads and anyone else who needs to come on board in our exciting field. Now in print and shipping from

And for the rest of you who already know how to program and are running into the usual problems on your team, we've got The Retrospective Handbook. Retrospectives, when done well, offer a good opportunity to initiate lasting change. This book will show you how, now available from

Finally, if you're looking for online Ruby and Rails training, see below for a great offer from the Pragmatic Studio.

Practical Programming: An Introduction to Computer Science Using Python 3

You don’t need any programming experience to get started. First, you’ll get a detailed introduction to Python and to programming. You’ll find out exactly what happens when your programs are executed. Through real-world examples, you’ll learn how to work with numbers, text, big data sets, and files. Then you’ll see how to create and use your own data types.

The incremental examples show you the steps and missteps that happen while developing programs, so you know what to expect when you tackle a problem on your own. Inspired by “How to Design Programs” (HtDP), you’ll learn a six-step recipe for designing functions, which helps you as you start to learn the concepts—and becomes an integral part of writing programs by the end.

As you learn to use the fundamental programming tools in the first half of the book, you’ll see how to document and organize your code so that you and other programmers can more easily read and understand it. Beyond the basics, you’ll learn how to ensure that your programs are reliable, and how to work with databases, download data from the web automatically, and build user interfaces. Most importantly, you’ll learn how to think like a professional programmer.

Now in print and shipping from

The Retrospective Handbook

This book condenses more than eight years of experience working with the retrospective practice within the context of real agile teams. It offers you practical advice on how to make your retrospectives even more effective, including topics such as dealing with common retrospective smells, keeping retrospectives energizing, and how to make change proposed in a retrospective stick.

You can quickly navigate to relevant sections. Need to run a retrospective for a large group? There’s a section for that. Need to handle running retrospectives in a distributed manner or learn how to make the meeting most effective through proper preparation? There are sections for these too, as well as many more.

This book is complementary to other books on retrospectives that offer exercises for running retrospectives by focusing on the process. This book offers activities with concrete advice to deal with the variety of situations you will find yourself in.

Now available from

Online Training Combo Discount

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  • Do the commands, conventions, and idioms feel more magical than truly helpful?

Pragmatic Studio’s Ruby Programming and Ruby on Rails Programming courses will show you how to build complete Ruby programs and Rails apps from start to finish. You’ll learn in a step-by-step, project-based approach how to design and develop high-quality apps and come away with the confidence that you truly understand the ins and outs of Ruby and Rails.

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Upcoming Author Appearances

  • 2013-09-18 Jack Moffitt, Strange Loop, St. Louis, MO
  • 2013-09-19 Chad Fowler, Hamburg, Germany
  • 2013-09-23 Johanna Rothman, A Week with the Quartet: Change Artistry
  • 2013-09-24 Rachel Davies, Cambridge, UK
  • 2013-09-26 Chris Adamson, CocoaConf Columbus
  • 2013-09-27 Jesse Anderson, ISVCON 2013 – Reno
  • 2013-09-27 Jonathan Penn, CocoaConf Columbus
  • 2013-09-27 Jonathan Penn, CocoaConf Columbus
  • 2013-09-27 Chad Fowler, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 2013-09-27 Chris Adamson, CocoaConf Columbus
  • 2013-09-28 Chris Adamson, CocoaConf Columbus
  • 2013-09-30 Chad Fowler, Aarhus, Denmark
  • 2013-10-01 Johanna Rothman, StarWest, Anaheim, CA
  • 2013-10-02 Johanna Rothman, AgileSoCal, Irvine, CA
  • 2013-10-04 Chris Strom, NationJS, Washington DC
  • 2013-10-04 John M Athayde, NationJS
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    Coming Soon:

    • Programming Erlang, 2nd Ed (in print)
    • Seven Concurrency Models in Seven Weeks
    • The Dream Team Nightmare: An Agile Adventure
    • iPad and iPhone Kung Fu

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