October PragPub

The scary cover of this issue of PragPub is false advertising. There’s nothing scary in this issue. So if life has you stressed out, come relax with this totally not-scary October PragPub.

Change can be a little scary. But they say change is the only constant. Keeping up with change requires constant learning. And encouraging learning in a business requires more than practices and programs, it requires a work environment optimized for learning. Diana Larsen knows how to create that environment, and talks about it in this issue.

Diana’s advice is pragmatic and experience-based. But sometimes what looks like an excellent program for improving your workplace needs a little tweaking to make it fit your particular situation. Sandy Mamoli recounts a case of a company trying to implement a purpose-driven, responsive self-management program and running into difficulties. It’s an enlightening description of what it can take to make a truly useful program be truly useful for you.

All right, maybe change isn’t the only constant. Derek Sivers makes a convincing argument that coincidence is another constant. Highly unlikely events happen every day. Life is nothing but a string of remarkable coincidences, and they are remarkable only when we remark on them. Expecting coincidences puts you more in sync with reality.

Those three articles are packed with practical advice, but what they don’t have is executable code. Our fourth feature this month fills that need. Venkat Subramaniam is back with another example of how to refactor code to functional style in Java 8. This time he looks at the popular Decorator pattern, and in a series of before-and-after examples shows how taking a functional approach can declutter the pattern, resulting in highly concise, elegant, and expressive code that is easier to understand and maintain.

Our regular columnists are here as well. Marcus Blankenship writes about the challenges of the programmer/manager, and this month shares a personal story of a time he fell short as a manager, and what he learned from the experience. Johanna Rothman is our project expert, and this month she answers the question, when the problem’s not with the team but with the system, how do you prove it to management? And John Shade? He’s skeptical about the new venture Elon Musk is considering.

Of course Antonio Cangiano has all the latest tech books and your editor has some interesting tech stories for your edification and a puzzle for your entertainment. We hope you enjoy this totally not-scary October PragPub!

Author: Michael Swaine

Michael Swaine is a writer and editor. He helped launch the first personal computer newsweekly, InfoWorld. He co-authored Fire in the Valley, the seminal tech history book on which the movie Pirates of Silicon Valley was based. He was editor-in-chief of Dr. Dobb’s Journal and has written for and edited several other magazines. His latest creation is PragPub for The Pragmatic Programmers. He and his partner Nancy Groth own Summer Jo’s, an organic farm, restaurant, and bakery in Grants Pass, Oregon.