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Effective Programming: More Than Writing Code Paperback – July 4, 2012
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About the Author
I'm Jeff Atwood. I live in Berkeley, CA with my wife, two cats, three children, and a whole lot of computers. I was weaned as a software developer on various implementations of Microsoft BASIC in the 80's, starting with my first microcomputer, the Texas Instruments TI-99/4a. I continued on the PC with Visual Basic 3.0 and Windows 3.1 in the early 90's, although I also spent significant time writing Pascal code in the first versions of Delphi. I am now quite comfortable in VB.NET or C#, despite the evils of case sensitivity. I'm currently learning Ruby. I consider myself a reasonably experienced Windowsweb software developer with a particular interest in the human side of software development, as represented in my recommended developer reading list. Computers are fascinating machines, but they're mostly a reflection of the people using them. In the art of software development, studying code isn't enough; you have to study the people behind the software, too.
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Top customer reviews
Sample code is just plain not there in the kindle version, which makes some chapters downright unreadable.
Kudos for making the kindle version free, but looks like the Chaos Monkey chose it.
It is chock-full of links to other posts and external sites, nearly all of which are worth the click. Much will be lost if you try to read this as a paperback, as those links are half the fun of reading the book.
I teach introductory programming courses which are necessarily focused on learning the basics of any language: syntax, logic, and so on. Atwood's book would be a great supplement to my course, and I'm already trying to be mindful of his advice. I am trying more to encourage my students to build a portfolio of their work, spend more time programming for fun, write about programming, spend time reading forums about programming, and generally try to get more involved in the programming community.
Programming IS more than knowing a language and some logic. If you are or hope to be a programmer one day, you are sure to find advice that resonates with you.
- Many clever insights are presented. One might not agree with all of the author's assertions, but, at worst, they make good beginnings for reflection or discussion.
- The author's advice extends beyond programming itself to soft skills, career management (even for non-programmers) and life (happiness versus money, for instance).
- The author frequently refers to other sources (mostly speakers or authors), which would make good follow-reading.
- This book is a direct dump of Web-based log entries:
1. Hyperlinks are still formatted specially, though they are (obviously) meaningless on paper.
2. The pages (and the table of contents) do not include page numbers.
3. Some of the original material (graphs, pie charts) was in color, while the print version is black & white. Most can be deciphered, but this is a distraction.
4. Some of the formatting is disrupted (by page boundaries, mostly).
- There is no index.
In my opinion, the good far outweighs the bad in this book.
Unfortunately for Coding Horror fans, the posts are infrequent. "Effective Programming" allows one to savor many pearls of wisdom at once.
Being a successful programmer has less to do with technical skills than you think and this book outlines it clearly.
Plus he relates back to his own projects and shares some inside information on Stack Overflow, which is great if you're a fan of the site (as a programmer you most likely are).
Worth a read for anyone serious about software development.
I really liked the section about interviewing and forming teams, I guess it is a must read for all hiring managers.
Few of my favorite quotes from the book:
"we programmers spend our lives writing code so that our fellow human beings no longer need to write code"
"You have to strike a mindful balance between practicing your craft and thinking about how you practice your craft."
"Good programmers never write what they can steal"