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97 Things Every Programmer Should Know: Collective Wisdom from the Experts Paperback – February 19, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0596809485 ISBN-10: 0596809484 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 258 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (February 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596809484
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596809485
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #600,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Kevlin Henney is an independent consultant and trainer. His work focuses on patterns and architecture, programming techniques and languages, and development process and practice. He has been a columnist for various magazines and online publications, including The Register, Better Software, Java Report, CUJ, and C++ Report. Kevlin is co-author of two volumes in the Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture series: A Pattern Language for Distributed Computing and On Patterns and Pattern Languages. He also contributed to 97 Things Every Software Architect Should Know

Customer Reviews

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This is a great book, but the title is misleading.
Simon
The book is a collection of tips and tricks for writing code that works, that is maintainable both by the author and by others, and that will best fit the situation.
M. Helmke
I would recommend this read to programmers of all levels of expertise.
Vishal K. Sharma

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By M. Helmke on March 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
I have read programming books for years. There was a time when I could write a "Hello World" program in each of seven or eight languages. That time has passed, mainly because I haven't been intimately involved in any specific software project for many years. Still, I have this habit of reading programming books and enjoying them, perhaps in the hope or expectation that one of these days I'll find myself with a project in front of me, time to work on it, and motivation to learn a new language or tool to make the project's vision a reality. Well, here's the newest book of programming foundational tips that I have read.

97 Things Every Programmer Should Know is a collection of short, two page essays, each by an experienced programmer. The book is a collection of tips and tricks for writing code that works, that is maintainable both by the author and by others, and that will best fit the situation. While the book doesn't measure up to some of my all time favorites in the genre like The Art of Unix Programming or The Pragmatic Programmer, it wasn't meant to. This is not an in depth guide to underlying philosophies of coding practices and standards, but quick hit and run articles that would be easy to fully grasp and absorb in short five minute bursts, such as during work or study breaks (which is how I read the book).
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50 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Burnham VINE VOICE on February 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
If you're just entering the programming world, this collection of 2-page essays might be a useful resource. But if you've been reading programmer blogs for a while, or you've worked on a couple of projects, then there's little of value here. Very few of the essayists choose to tell stories; instead, they say things like "Remember that humans always make mistakes," "Read other people's code" and "Always leave the campground cleaner than you found it."

Speaking of which, where is the code? A book on programming without code is like a day without sunshine! To give one example: The second essay, "Apply Functional Programming Principles" by Edward Garson, assures you that you'll write cleaner, clearer code after working with a functional programming language, but his assurances feel awfully airy without any examples. Maybe this is inevitable in a book that's language-agnostic. Books like Code Complete and Clean Code are hopping with code samples (in C++ and Java, respectively); as a result, they do a far better job of engaging the reader and making abstract concepts stick.

A notable exception is "Code in the Language of the Domain" by Dan North, which uses code to illustrate a concept and uses it well. You might want to read that one, but you don't need to buy the book to do so: All of the essays in this book are Creative Commons-licensed and can be read on the book's official website.

Here is why Joel Spolsky's books are so good: He tells stories. He gives examples. He restrains himself from bombarding the reader with familiar aphorisms.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michael T. Fisher on March 17, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a compilation of short essays ranging on topics as diverse as Bugs, Error Handling, Customers, Refactoring, and Expertise. The purpose of the short essay is not to answer all your questions or be a definitive guide to programming. Rather the purpose is to provide a starting point for a conversation. To this end, I think a practical way to use this book whether in academia or a development team would be to assign groups of essays to be read ahead of time to stimulate classroom or team meeting discussions. Read my full review of the book here,
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Craig Cecil on March 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
I read this book because, well, I wanted to see if I knew 97 things that 73 other programmers thought I should know. Luckily, after over 20 years of software development experience, there were no surprises on my part. However, for those just starting out in programming, this would be a valuable read, just to gain a cursory glance at the topics you should become familiar with. For experienced programmers, check it out if you want to satisfy your curiosity. Hopefully, you won't be surprised.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By 7h0m on March 4, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As other reviewers have noted there is stuff here that is rather pedantic for anyone who has been programming professionally for more than five years, however there is still a great deal of good material and some interesting discussions. There is in indeed code where it is necessary, you can find some by simply using the "look inside" feature. Programming is about ideas and concepts far more than it is about code and this book has many very lively discussions; the chapter on Floating Point inaccuracies is worth the price of the book.
This book also has the benefit of the fact that we do not work in a vacuum. We learn from each other and when mentoring younger programmers a book like this helps to remind us of the things that were so ingrained in us ten years ago that we might never even think to mention it to our charges.
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