All of a sudden, in the past week or so, a bunch of cats have been let out of their bags. Several of my friends are doing cool things that I haven’t felt free to talk about … and they’re all going public at once. Here’s the first of a few upcoming blog entries about cats on the loose.

If you haven’t read Dave Thomas and Andy Hunt’s Pragmatic Starter Kit books–Pragmatic Version Control and Pragmatic Unit Testing–you definitely should. (They’ve just released a new edition of the unit testing book, covering C# and NUnit. Now that I think of it, that counts as yet another cat recently out of the bag. But since they haven’t sent me a copy, I can’t really write about it, can I? Ahem. :-)

But all along, the book I’ve really wanted to read is the third one in the series: Pragmatic Automation. The one that hasn’t been written yet. Isn’t that typical?

Here’s the breaking news that I can finally talk about: I noticed that it’s now being proclaimed from the Pragmatic Programmer’s website that the author of Pragmatic Automation is Mike Clark.

Now, by way of full disclosure, I have to admit what I’ve already admitted to Mike: when he first told me that he might be doing this, my first thought was, “But I wanted to read Dave and Andy’s automation book!” But that gut reaction was wrong, and it didn’t take me long to realize it. Mike is the right guy to write this book.

Dave and Andy will still be actively involved, of course, and they’ll make sure Mike covers their favorite tricks. But you’ll also get to read about Mike’s tricks. On this topic, more heads are definitely better. Automation is an open-ended topic. Mike is an aggressive automatorhe loves to let the computer take over the drudgery for him. And Mike understands that automation is as much about consistency as it is about efficiency.

Mike’s still writing, and the book isn’t scheduled to be available until June. But you may as well set your money aside now. More than ever, Pragmatic Automation is the starter-kit book I’m dying to read.