Larry Price

And The Endless Cup Of Coffee

The Pragmatic Programmer

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Don’t be a slave to history. Don’t let existing code dictate future code. All code can be replaced if it is no longer appropriate

The Gist

The Pragmatic Programmer written by Andrew Hunt and David Thomas is a book about being an above-average software developer.

My Opinion

There are many good concepts in this book. However, I’ve been reading a bit much lately and found that most of the topics covered have been rehashed in other books. As it turns out, re-reading this kind of motivational book is less exciting when you’ve read similar texts earlier in the year.

I did enjoy the section on Refactoring; there has been some discussion on my current project team of what to do when you see “gnarly” code. This section reiterates the fact that poorly-written code should be updated. The authors talk about treating code as organic. Refactoring your code as it grows is the same as reevaluating oneself as one grows older. Changing one’s hair or clothes, changing what one eats or reads or watches (inputs), or changing a daily routine is just refactoring of your daily life: the person is the same and accomplishes largely the same tasks, but in a slightly different manner.

One tip in this book is “Use one editor well.” I’ve found that I love to use Sublime Text for my work in Ruby, Python, and markup languages. Having said that, I find Sublime an inappropriate tool for doing C++ (Qt Creator), Java (Eclipse or even NetBeans), or anything .NET (duh Visual Studio). Considering my job could involve any programming language, I would revise this tip to “Use the right editor for the job, and learn to use it well.”

The chapter introductions were largely worthless to me: long-winded summaries of EVERYTHING in the chapter. I eventually trained myself to automatically skip the chapter intros in favor of reading the details. It seems that I could have just as easily gone the other way and gotten away with only reading the intros, but that hardly seems like any fun.

Who Would Like This

Fresh-outs should read this book. It’s not too long and it’s split into manageable chapters. Great for fresh-out book clubs, in which I probably should have participated.

Who would not like this? People who have read books with similar premeses, such as Code Complete, within recent memory.