New: Book Report: the Pragmatic Programmer

This book, The Pragmatic Programmer is difficult to find by searching, since there's also a series of books by that name. So maybe I'll give the full title here: The Pragmatic Programmer / from journeyman to master. That subtitle sounds pretty highfalutin', at odds with the "pragmatic" in the main part of the title. But it does fit with this book's approach: treating programming as craft, trying to give direction to some folks who want to hone their craft.

This book is a survey of "best practices". It doesn't go into much detail on any one of these practices. So... for example... If you picked up this book thinking "Command Line Interfaces are relics of a stupider age," then you're going to see a section of this book which exposes you to the idea that Command Line Interfaces are awesome--but it won't give you enough detail to reverse your preconceived notion.

I'm older than dirt and have been in some well-run engineering organizations. Thus, I have already been exposed to these practices. I feel kinda sorry for someone who has to learn about these things from a book. If you've been in an engineering group that has a nice testing framework you appreciate it—especially if you then go to another group that doesn't have one. But if you've never used a testing framework, and if you just have this book telling you that it's a darned convenient thing, and you're going to the trouble of setting it up... I dunno if a book would convince me to take the trouble.

The authors are technologically aware, and have a pretty good web site about the book, with a table of contents and a list of "tips". If you're interested in reading a survey of best practices and want to make sure that this book contains the best practices you want to learn about, that table of contents might be pretty interesting to you.

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Posted 2010-01-19