Sunday, August 6, 2006

The Pragmatic Programmer - Book review

A colleague from the company that currently hires me, proudly told that they have a copy of the The Pragmatic Programmer for every 3 employees. Having just finished the Spring MVC book, I thought lets see what this is about. So I read the book and here I will convince you to read it as well.

After only a few chapters 2 strong thoughts came up and remained there for most of the rest:
1. What a dull book, I am already doing this stuff. But more importantly:
2. This is Good Stuff, I wish more people would read this book.

Though the book is old (2000) it is still very relevant. It contains a large set of well described programming practices and attitudes. You can read the entire book in any order. From experience I can say that what this book says, will really help you build better code more quickly.

One point I loved, is when the authors write off the construction metaphor (which is so previous century) in favor of the gardening metaphor. 'Gardening' is much better for explaining to business people why you sometimes need to spend time with no visible improvements.

I wondered why I had never seen iContract before, which is I think a hidden gem of the book. Apparently it is only recently resurrected.

As a totally unrelated bonus, I finally understand the use of Linda like technologies (Rinda/JavaSpaces).

Some minor points:
- I only noticed one trend away from this book: things like Active Record makes the section "Code generators" a bit redundant. Of course it can still be useful. Just watch out for software in which you don't need it.
- Exercise 23 states that it is a good idea to set java references to null after you are finished with the object. I disagree. You can consider doing this when you are writing code for a particular (old) JVM version that you happen to know intimately. And even then I would say that your methods are too long.

Anyways, the book does justice to its title; all tips are practical and executable. The more people will use ideas from this book, the less bad software I will have to work with. So here is my request to all colleague programmers: please go and read this book!

Author blogs: Andrew Hunt and David Thomas

1 comment:

  1. Dull? Are you kidding? I think it's pretty darn funny for a tech book! I wish I could write like that :)