Book Review: The Pragmatic Programmer

The Pragmatic Programmer: from journeyman to master

Andrew Hunt and David Thomas

The Pragmatic Programmer is an excellet resource for advancing your programming no matter the stage of your development.

There are a number of books out on the market that cover software engineering “best practices” but this is a must-read because of its easy to read and because of the “to the point” style.  While topics in this book may hit closer to home with more seasoned programmers, there is a lot of value in the pages for younger programmers as well.  This is one of those books that you should revisit from time to time as your skills develop.

This book is a concise (and sometimes humorous) collection of tips and tricks presented in various short stories and case studies.  While some may say many of the topics covered are common sense (they are not wrong), most of us have to learn this common sense the hard way.

Key take-a-ways
  • Pragmatic programmers are inquisitive, critical thinkers, realistic, and versatile
  • Broken Window Theory: If you allow substandard programming habits to creep in, your code will break-down quickly
  • DRY Principle: Don’t Repeat Yourself
  • Program Deliberately
    • Always be aware of what you are implementing
    • Understand the change first before adding it
    • Have a thoughtful plan
    • Document any and all assumptions made in design and implementation
    • Test your code regularly (automated if possible)
    • Do not be a prisoner of your past code, refactor as needed