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Code Craft: The Practice of Writing Excellent Code 1st Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1593271190
ISBN-10: 1593271190
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

You know how to write code that works, but what about code that's well written and easy to understand? And robust and bug-free? If other programmers looked at your handiwork, would they be able to figure out the code's logic and purpose? Exceptional programmers have more than just technical know-how; they adopt the right approach and attitude to development.

Code Craft will help take your programming beyond writing correct code to writing great code, thus turning you into a true programming professional or enhancing your existing professional skills.

With language-agnostic advice that's relevant to all developers, Code Craft covers code-writing concerns such as presentation style, variable naming, error handling, and security. And it tackles broader, real-world programming issues like effective teamwork, development processes, and documentation. Each chapter ends with a Q&A section that reviews key concepts to get you thinking like an expert, making it an especially great reference for newer programmers who want to work professionally and efficiently as part of a team.

This survival guide for the software factory will show you how to:
* Write good code when the world's not helping you
* Avoid disasters and distractions in the workplace
* Assess your abilities accurately and determine ways to improve
* Adopt productive attitudes and follow best practices

There's little more valuable than the advice of a true, programming professional. You'll find Code Craft to be clear, practical, and entertaining throughout, and a great way to take your code (and your career) to the next level.

About the Author

Pete Goodliffe is a senior software engineer, currently working on embedded systems in C++. He never stays at the same place in the software food chain; from bringing new systems up, writing device drivers, through OS implementation, audio codecs, JVM implementation, to MIDI sequencing applications. He writes a regular column for accu.org called Professionalism in Programming and has published articles on software development in Hardcopy, C/C++ Users Journal, and Dr Dobb's Journal.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: No Starch Press; 1 edition (December 15, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593271190
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593271190
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,181,710 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
After reading the good, despite few, amazon reviews of this book i decided to pick it up. I'm a big fan of books that teach one how to become a better programmer. Unfortunately, i wasn't too impressed by this one. The author didn't seem to have anything super insightful or groundbreaking to share with us. He gave a description of what he considers to be good code/coders along with a really brief description of a lot of software related tools, paradigms, and 'types' of programmers.

Unfortunately he doesn't really say anything that hasn't been said. His code examples are notably poor. In Steve McConnels book, "Code Complete" he criticizes programming books for using fibonacci as an example of recursion. He criticizes it because it's not something that software developers find themselves doing often. I have the same complaint with most of the code examples in this book (so maybe it is good there are so few). It felt like my high school java teacher (who had neither a CS degree or programming experience) wrote up the code samples. You'll quickly be annoyed by the simplicity of the mistakes and concepts that he is trying to express.

As you read this book you'll find things you agree and disagree with, and you'll just want to say OK. you won't run to your computer wanting to implement them. You also won't run to your friends telling them you've found a new way to do something. I guess that is my major problem with this book, there's nothing really special about it. I also found myself wondering 'why is this important?' throughout the book quite a bit.

I found another thing in this book to be insulting, the Good Programmers Bad Programmers section after each chapter.
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Format: Paperback
I was at the library and this happened to be next to another book that I wanted, so I picked it up too.

And wow, it's rare that I am this disappointed in a book. The content is very thin. It sounds like it was completely gathered from secondary sources, e.g. reading other books about software engineering. It doesn't sound like the result of actual experience.

Every page is filled with platitudes without any examples of real experience backing it up. I'll grant that he has assembled an extraordinarly wide range of *terms* and terminology. It looks like he has tried to shove 3 sentences about every topic in software into a single book. Unfortunately, this ultimately makes for a book with little use.

Another sticking point is the writing style. It comes off like the author is an annoying guy trying to be funny and trying to be your friend. The first sentence irritated me: "What's in it for me? Programming is your passion. It's sad, but it's true."

Huh? Why is it sad that programming is one's passion??? There are similar head-scratchers elsewhere in the book. He also devotes a section to talking about the various types of "code monkeys". And the last type is "You. In the interest of politeness, we'll say no more about this curious beast. Sadly, some people are beyond help..." What? The reader is beyond help? If I pretend for a minute that he's not insulting me, then I still don't know what he's trying to say. This book is incoherent.

And what's with all the reviews below that read like advertisements? Give me a break. It looks like a lot of the author's friends are spamming Amazon's reviews.

I recommend reading Joel Spolsky's books for real, specific insights on programming and the software development process, earned from experience, written in a much clearer and more entertaining style.

I'm also reading Jon Bentley's "Programming Pearls" now.
Comment 37 of 42 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
I have two comments.
First, do not expect technical details on this book. There isn't. Second, the only paragraph that is really good is on page 461 and it says: "Find the classic books of the field". This is not one of those. He recommends and I agree almost completely:
* Code Complete
* Design Patterns: Elements of reusable object-oriented software
* The mythical man-month
* The psychology of computer programming
* The practice of programming
* Peopleware
* The pragmatic programmer
* refactoring

I do not thing that "Code Craft" is one of those.
Comment 20 of 22 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
Almost any programmer can program. That's more or less the definition of the word. It's pretty rare (but not unheard of) to find a C++ programmer who doesn't know C++.

So what's the difference between a good programmer and a bad one? Usually it's all of the thousands of disparate things that a programmer needs to know to be effective that don't deal with the programming language itself. Things such as design principles, coding standards, testing strategies, understanding of tools, and general development philosophy.

Those are the topics of this book. "Code Craft" won't teach you how to build generic collection classes and optimized tree search routines in Visual Basic or any other language. Instead it focuses on the myriad skills a good programmer uses while building an application. Things such as defensive programming, how to format code, using meaningful names, testing, and source code control. It describes different kinds of programmers and project organizations, and explains how to with the strengths and around their weaknesses. It explains how to write specifications, perform code reviews, and estimate project lengths.

Pete Goodliffe is an experienced professional developer and it shows in the book's right-on-the-money tips. His advice and experiences (as shown in frequent interesting sidebars) agree with mine in almost every way. Of the many tips in this book, the only one I found that I don't agree with is the idea that you should write the fewest possible comments, including only those that are absolutely necessary to explain the code.

Even that minor criticism demonstrates why I think you should buy this book: to get different points of view.
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