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The Clean Coder: A Code of Conduct for Professional Programmers (Robert C. Martin Series) 1st Edition

103 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 007-6092046981
ISBN-10: 0137081073
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Editorial Reviews


“‘Uncle Bob’ Martin definitely raises the bar with his latest book. He explains his expectation for a professional programmer on management interactions, time management, pressure, on collaboration, and on the choice of tools to use. Beyond TDD and ATDD, Martin explains what every programmer who considers him- or herself a professional not only needs to know, but also needs to follow in order to make the young profession of software development grow.”

–Markus Gärtner

Senior Software Developer

it-agile GmbH


“Some technical books inspire and teach; some delight and amuse. Rarely does a technical book do all four of these things. Robert Martin’s always have for me and The Clean Coder is no exception. Read, learn, and live the lessons in this book and you can accurately call yourself a software professional.”

–George Bullock

Senior Program Manager

Microsoft Corp.


“If a computer science degree had ‘required reading for after you graduate,’ this would be it. In the real world, your bad code doesn’t vanish when the semester’s over, you don’t get an A for marathon coding the night before an assignment’s due, and, worst of all, you have to deal with people. So, coding gurus are not necessarily professionals. The Clean Coder describes the journey to professionalism . . . and it does a remarkably entertaining job of it.”

–Jeff Overbey

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


The Clean Coder is much more than a set of rules or guidelines. It contains hard-earned wisdom and knowledge that is normally obtained through many years of trial and error or by working as an apprentice to a master craftsman. If you call yourself a software professional, you need this book.”

–R. L. Bogetti

Lead System Designer

Baxter Healthcare

About the Author

Robert C. Martin (“Uncle Bob”) has been a programmer since 1970. He is founder and president of Object Mentor, Inc., an international firm of highly experienced software developers and managers who specialize in helping companies get their projects done. Object Mentor offers process improvement consulting, object-oriented software design consulting, training, and skill development services to major corporations worldwide. Martin has published dozens of articles in various trade journals and is a regular speaker at international conferences and trade shows.


He has authored and edited many books, including:


  • Designing Object Oriented C++ Applications Using the Booch Method
  • Patterns Languages of Program Design 3
  • More C++ Gems
  • Extreme Programming in Practice
  • Agile Software Development: Principles, Patterns, and Practices
  • UML for Java Programmers
  • Clean Code

A leader in the industry of software development, Martin served for three years as editor-in-chief of the C++ Report, and he served as the first chairman of the Agile Alliance.


Robert is also the founder of Uncle Bob Consulting, LLC, and cofounder with his son Micah Martin of The Clean Coders LLC.


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Product Details

  • Series: Robert C. Martin Series
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 1 edition (May 23, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0137081073
  • ISBN-13: 978-0137081073
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,916 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

102 of 106 people found the following review helpful By Michelle J. Kenoyer on May 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is good at providing a general overview of what it means to be a software professional. Lots of good advice and provides many resources and a general framework for thinking about the subjects he presents.

Sometimes the author presents strategies very specific to him that wouldn't work for me. For example, I tried the pomodoro method before and had mixed results. I think readers would benefit more looking at the goal (better time management) and finding a methodology that works for them to accomplish that goal.

He is very bullish on unit tests, stating that there is no longer and controversy over TDD. As a huge fan of unit tests, I find many places I have worked at have very little interest in unit testing or don't see any real benefit.

The book is also very strongly against being in the Flow to program which I found interesting. This is pretty much 100% the opposite of everything else I have ever heard/read.

He is also against listening to music while programming. He provides a weird example where while listening to Pink Floyd his code comments had Pink Floyd references. The author has a tendency to confuse something that is true for him ("I don't listen to music while programming") to a general universal rule ("Programmers shouldn't listen to music while programming").

Most programmers I know who listen to music do so as white noise. For instance, I listen to techno many times while programming. I don't like techno but the droning drum servies to drown out the office chitter chatter at my current gig.

Like Clean Code, I don't always agree with the author but provides good food for thought and is worth the read!
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124 of 145 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Coats on June 30, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Overall, I would say this book was disappointing. Admittedly, I had high expectation after reading "Clean Code". Perhaps it was the rather too personal anecdotes that initially turned me off. I would say you are better of reading "Pragmatic Programmer" and a book on Scrum XP and software project estimation.
As other reviews have said, it feels like a collection of blog articles published in a book.

Chapter 1. Professionalism
The book got off to a bad start for me... the first chapter on professionalism:
"Do the math. In a week there are 168 hours. Give your employer 40, and your career another 20. That leaves 108. Another 56 for sleep leaves 52 for everything else.

Perhaps you don't want to make that kind of commitment, That's fine, but should not think of yourself as a professional. Professionals spend time caring for their profession."

Really? 20 hours per week; so if you spend 10 per week reading blogs, listening to podcasts, doing kata's etc... you are no longer a professional? While I agree, you have to take personal responsibility for your career, asserting that you have to spend 20 hours a week seems over the top to me. Perhaps the author wishes to be controversial and overly opinionated to provoke debate?

Chapter 4. Coding.
The section on listening to music while coding has a truly bizarre anecdote:
"One day I went back into a module that I been editing while listening to the opening sequence of The Wall. The comments in that code contained lyrics from the piece, and editorial notations about dive bombers and crying babies."

I'm guessing lots of people listen to music while coding without a problem.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Robert H. Stine Jr. on June 29, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In "The Clean Coder: A Code of Conduct for Professional Programmers," Uncle Bob Martin is his usual, controversial self, but he is often convincing. One upshot is that I will never again tell a manager that "I'll try" to hit an overly ambitious deadline: I will either commit or refuse to commit, or offer an estimate of the odds of success. On the topic of deadlines, Martin observes that project managers and "suits" regard completion dates as commitments, while programmers tend to regard them as estimates, usually overly optimistic estimates. He makes the case that it is the professional duty of programmers to come up with realistic estimates and then stick to their guns.

Another good point Martin makes is that a professional programmer should take the responsibility to hone his or her skills outside working hours. He recommends working a focused and productive 40 hours a week, and then spending 20 hours a week on career development: reading, learning other languages, even practicing programming "katas".

One of the most controversial claims Martin makes is that getting into "the zone" - that mental state of total concentration for which programmers strive - is a bad idea, because it results in too narrow a focus. Personally, I'm not convinced. I think that the problems of focused programming can be remedied by being sure to take a big-picture view from time to time, and also by code reviews.

A problem with this book is Martin's use of overstatement to indicate emphasis. So when he says "never, never, never" agree to meet a deadline by working extra hard and long, he means "hardly ever". His insistence that agreeing to accelerate effort inevitably result in low quality code just does not wash.
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