Beautiful Code — A Collection Of Essays On Programing

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Beau­ti­ful Code
Lead­ing Pro­gram­mers Explain How They Think
By Andy Oram, Greg Wil­son
Edit­ed by Andy Oram, Greg Wil­son

Beau­ti­ful Code — The title imme­di­ate­ly caught my atten­tion and made me dream. I’ve been cod­ing from the age of twelve and beau­ti­ful code always inspired me. I always head­ed for pro­duc­ing the most beau­ti­ful piece of code for any task — not always get­ting there, though. So in the end Beau­ti­ful Code looked like the per­fect book to me.

The book con­tains a selec­tion of 33 essays writ­ten by pro­gramers com­ing from dif­fer­ent indus­tries and back­grounds. Each essay focus­es on a sin­gle task or pro­gram­ing top­ic, eg. search, dic­tio­nar­ies or unit test­ing. Those tasks are usu­al­ly described in good detail to under­stand the prob­lem and solu­tion the author found. For some tasks you also get a recap on the com­plete jour­ney the author took to get from ini­tial tries to final solu­tion. The themes are wide­spread and there is no com­mon top­ic — more spe­cif­ic than cod­ing — glue­ing them togeth­er.

You get a broad view on cod­ing and on how expe­ri­enced pro­gramers solve com­mon tasks. There is much to learn from this for the expe­ri­enced pro­gramer who wants to improve. But don’t take this book like the usu­al cod­ing advice. It’s more of a heli­copter view how to think.

This book is hard­ly meant to be read from start to end to mas­ter a prob­lem. It’s more of a deflec­tion. A book you read dur­ing your off-hours, to get insight on how oth­ers think and work. To broad­en your own mind. And — first and fore­most — as enter­tain­ment.

This book is a nice to have and makes a great present for any geek/hacker/coder you know.

O’Reilly also offers a suc­ces­sor to this book: Mak­ing Soft­ware.

I review for the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program