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ybrikman

ybrikman

The Practice of Programming (Addison-Wesley Professional Computing Series)

The Practice of Programming (Addison-Wesley Professional Computing Series) - 'Brian W. Kernighan',  'Rob Pike' The book describes itself as a practical guide to general programming in the real world, but for the most part, doesn't deliver on that promise for a number of reasons.

First, the book should have been called The Practice of Programming in C and C++. The intro chapters say Java, Perl, and others would be discussed, but I'd estimate the C languages make up 90% of the examples and advice. The long discussions of memory management, pointers, and portability do not apply to any of the other languages, or most modern languages in general.

Second, the preface says the book will teach things not covered in school, but the second chapter is a quick, incomplete, and not very rigorous intro to data structures and algorithms straight out of cs 101.

Third, the discussion on coding style is handled much better in other books, such as Code Complete and Clean Code. In fact, I'm not a fan of some of the recommended coding conventions. For example, the book advocates the use of short, abbreviated, and/or single letter variable names in many cases, which made even their short example code hard to read. Also, many of the functions in the code examples were quite long and in need of refactoring.

Fourth, as is often the case with tech content, the book has not aged well. The interface, performance, and portability chapters feel out of date. The fact that functional programming principles (and languages) are missing means this is, at best, a practical guide to purely imperative programming.

Overall: only worth a read for C coders, though a more up to date book would be better.