The Pragmatic Programmer

After reading many rave reviews online, and pondering over the price for several months, I decided to treat myself to a copy of ‘The Pragmatic Programmer’ by Andrew Hunt and David Thomas. I have been reading a little whenever I get the chance and am just about halfway through the second chapter, so thought it time I added my own ‘rave review’ to the masses.

I love this book.

Although much of the content so far has pretty much been common sense, sometimes we programmers get so engrossed in achieving the end goal of working, ‘error-less’ code that common sense and basic good practices go out the window. Avoiding duplication in its various forms, the benefits of keeping code orthogonal, and striving for reversibility are all conveyed to the user in a light-hearted, conversational, anecdote-filled manner which makes it difficult for me to choose between spending my free time reading ‘The Lord of The Rings’ or ‘The Pragmatic Programmer’. My artist of a younger sister was even interested when I read some of this book aloud to her.

There are concepts (such as implementing Orthogonality) which this book has presented in such a simple and applicable way that I wonder how I was ever confused about them when studying at uni.

This book also contains tips and reminders for a positive lifestyle as a programmer from interacting with your team in an appropriate way to expanding your knowledge portfolio in the most productive manner.

My favourite idea from Hunt and Thomas so far has been:

If you are doing very detailed implementation and coding, read a book on design and architecture. If you are doing high-level design, read a book on coding techniques.

This was not something which I had previously considered – Surely you should supplement your work using your free time if you can?

But no. This makes sense. There’s no point in becoming fed up of your work because it’s what you do in your free time too.

I would definitely recommend reading this book. It’s well worth the 20 quid or so.