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The Art of Readable Code: Simple and Practical Techniques for Writing Better Code (Theory in Practice) Paperback – November 23, 2011
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About the Author
Trevor Foucher has been shipping software projects for over 10 years, including Windows 2000 and OneCare at Microsoft, and Webmaster Tools at Google. He's been an individual contributor, manager, and tech lead. His goal is to make code more readable and reliable.
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Top Customer Reviews
Along comes "The Art of Readable Code". The authors have written a very enjoyable, highly readable book about readability. They go beyond simply stating a set of guidelines, instead explaining the motivation behind each suggestion. I love that they show both good and bad from-the-field examples of how programmers write code. I found myself nodding in agreement with much of what they said. I also think they do a much better job than I when it comes to explaining that readable code is not simply a set of requirements to follow, but that there are simple compelling reasons behind readability, not the least of which is to make life easier for others who will read your code.
I have decided that I will begin making this a required reference for my students. Our school subscribes to Safari Online Books, which gives our students free access to O'Reilly books such as this one. Even if my students couldn't get it for free, I think it's a book I would want our computer science/software engineering majors to have handy as a reference. I bought the Kindle edition for myself, and found that it is very readable on the Kindle Fire...and much more relaxing to read this way than from the Safari site (and currently only about half the cost of buying the physical book).
From now on, I will let this book deliver the message to my students about readable code.
Other reviewers have described this book as introductory, offering nothing new. Well, the book is not rocket science, but it makes a great case for practices that should be followed but usually aren't. I'm a programmer; I've worked at many software start-ups, and what I see all too often is brittle code, gazillion-line methods, god classes, and pointless tight coupling.
Also, the authors introduce a notion of an economy or budget of mental effort: if what should be simple to understand is a chore, then it is going to be easy to miss problems in the tough stuff. Across the board, the authors articulate compelling cases for doing things the right way, which could be handy for discussions with your colleagues and boss.
Finally, the concrete coding example at the book's end should be educational for even experienced programmers.
It's well-planned, written and edited. Not too long (184 pages) and the cartoons don't get in the way, and even occasionally add value. I admired the way that the authors recognized a few classic flame-war subjects, made their opinions known and then moved right along. I think the examples for each idea are all good ones.
I recommend reading it with a body of code in mind, so you can think about live examples of all the issues that the authors raise.
Disclaimer: I requested a copy of this book from O'Reilly so I could review it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I agree with almost all the suggestions, and had
implemented many of them myself years ago.Read more
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Good handbook for those whose job is coding