I just finished reading Mike Gunderloy’s latest, Developer to Designer – GUI Design for the Busy Developer, and to sum it up, this book takes up where his other book (Coder to Developer) leaves off. Developer to Designer has a lot of useful information contained in it about proper design considerations for developing windows, web, and Avalon (yes, Avalon) applications.
I must say that this book, on a technical level, is well below what I normally read. This would definitely be a book for developers just starting out in the working world, or those switching careers to that of the more illustrious geekdom. I found it very rudimentary in the level of detail that was brought into describing different elements of design. Sure, I picked up a few pointers, but for the most part I scanned 1/2 (or more) of the book.
I was also considerably dissapointed with the amount of content in Windows vs. Web based design. In the book, he states that web design has its limitations (which obviously it does), but barely chips the ice off the top of the sculpture when discussing it. Coming from a high level of web based programming and design (I’m not claiming to be a graphic designer, my websites show that I don’t have that technical skill), I would have expected more out of the few chapters that he did explain. It seems evident to me that filler was needed to extend the length of the book, so what better than describing HTML elements and how to use them rather than describing best design decisions when creating websites.
Lastly, the final chapter was based on next generation user interface design…specifically Avalon & Longhorn. This chapter seemed completely out of place within this book, and most of the content that was contained seemed more of a “intro to Longhorn” book that probably has already been published. This chapter was completely useless, as it focuses on more of a specific future technology rather than generalizations like the first 3/4 of the book that can be applicable to all development platforms (yes, even Macs). Personally, I would have left this chapter out completely, but my guess is that it was in there due to needing filler.
So, what’s my overall reaction to the book? Well, I’m not impressed, but at the same time I’m not un-impressed (well, except for the Longhorn chapter). I personally wouldn’t have gone out and purchased this book if it wasn’t for me receiving a free copy (Thanks Sybex!). But, if you’re new to windows (and, well I guess web – but I wouldn’t use this for that primary purpose) development, I’d suggest this book. It does give you a very detailed explanation of good design patterns that are currently used. However, if you’ve done some design previously I’d shy away from this one, as it’s probably too rudimentary for your technical skill level.