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Beautiful Code: Leading Programmers Explain…

Beautiful Code: Leading Programmers Explain How They Think

by Andy Oram

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7651018,587 (3.46)3
How do the experts solve difficult problems in software development? In this unique and insightful book, leading computer scientists offer case studies that reveal how they found unusual, carefully designed solutions to high-profile projects. You will be able to look over the shoulder of major coding and design experts to see problems through their eyes. This is not simply another design patterns book, or another software engineering treatise on the right and wrong way to do things. The authors think aloud as they work through their project's architecture, the tradeoffs made in its construction, and when it was important to break rules. This book contains 33 chapters contributed by Brian Kernighan, KarlFogel, Jon Bentley, Tim Bray, Elliotte Rusty Harold, Michael Feathers,Alberto Savoia, Charles Petzold, Douglas Crockford, Henry S. Warren,Jr., Ashish Gulhati, Lincoln Stein, Jim Kent, Jack Dongarra and PiotrLuszczek, Adam Kolawa, Greg Kroah-Hartman, Diomidis Spinellis, AndrewKuchling, Travis E. Oliphant, Ronald Mak, Rogerio Atem de Carvalho andRafael Monnerat, Bryan Cantrill, Jeff Dean and Sanjay Ghemawat, SimonPeyton Jones, Kent Dybvig, William Otte and Douglas C. Schmidt, AndrewPatzer, Andreas Zeller, Yukihiro Matsumoto, Arun Mehta, TV Raman,Laura Wingerd and Christopher Seiwald, and Brian Hayes. Beautiful Code is an opportunity for master coders to tell their story. All author royalties will be donated to Amnesty International.… (more)



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It's a real hodgepodge. ( )
  scottkirkwood | Dec 4, 2018 |
A mixed bag, but overall, worth reading.

Pros: I think programmers do not spend enough time studying the code of others, so books like this are an important step in encouraging the study of this craft. Each chapter of the book is written by a different (often famous) programmer, uses a different language, and discusses a different domain, so you get to see a huge range of different types of code. Multidimensional Iterators in NumPy, Distributed Programming with MapReduce, Beautiful Concurrency, and Writing Programs for the "Book" were my favorite chapters.

Cons: given all the different authors, the quality of the chapters is uneven. A few are boring; a few are interesting, but very tough to follow; a few just discuss high level principles and don't show much code. Also, while I recognize that beauty is subjective, for a prompt of "what's the most beautiful code you've ever seen", a few of the code snippets were questionable. ( )
  brikis98 | Nov 11, 2015 |
Nice bird's-eye view of some cool software people are writing, and some common advice for writing clear, maintainable code. Not very original or deep for learning something new, but interesting and inspiring. ( )
  valdanylchuk | Aug 26, 2015 |
Essentially, this is thirty or so authors' takes on what makes code beautiful. The approaches vary widely, as does the writing. Some essays are full of code, others of theory, still others mix the two. There are a handful I'd not call beautiful. This is rough and slow reading, and a very long book.

Parts are over my head, of course; the book's clearly intended that way. But parts are just wonderful, and make the book worthwhile. I'm guessing each reader will prefer different essays.

This short review has also been published on a dabbler's journal. ( )
  joeldinda | May 6, 2011 |
There are a couple of real gems in here, mostly from people that I would expect, although a couple from people I hadn't heard of before. Then there are a bunch of people that seemed so enamored with their entire project they couldn't boil the essay down to a real message. My suggestion is to borrow it from someone and read until you lose interest and then skip to the next one. I guess the good part is that point will be different for everyone so there is a good chance there is something in here you will enjoy. Personally I would have cut it down to about a third of the size though.
  jcopenha | Jul 8, 2009 |
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