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#1 WaeV  Icon User is offline

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Which of These Books Do You Recommend?

Posted 16 May 2011 - 01:28 AM

I've decided to put this summer to good use, and I plan to buy some new books on programming and software development to study over break. What I'm trying to do is optimize my purchase. Ideally I buy all of these books, but any suggestions on which books to trim would be appreciated (so long as the suggestions are accompanied with good reasoning). These are my current choices:


The Passionate Programmer: Creating a Remarkable Career in Software Development
I already own this book, and it's fantastic. It has little content on programming per se, but it has without a doubt changed the way that I look at my career.


The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master
Packed with solid advice, from what I've heard. I'm pretty much set on buying this book. I see references to it everywhere, and every review I've read has been a glowing one. Notable topics include orthogonality, reversibility, DRY, and the Law of Demeter.


Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction, Second Edition
This book seems to have been somewhat of a classic, and was updated in 2004. It seems to mostly deal with the process of software development, and also has many good reviews. According to Wikipedia, the book "urges developers to get past code and fix programming and the "big design up front" waterfall model," and it also includes "software construction" techniques.


Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship
Another book on software development. This book comes with a lot of code examples, and is a proponent of a number of software design ideas such as TDD. Concurrency is given a good look, too.


Design Patterns
The granddaddy catalog of design patterns. This book is pretty legendary and I'll let its reputation speak for itself. I'm leaning away from getting this book at the moment; I've already had a chance to flip through it, and I think that other books could be more useful for now. I'll probably end up with this book on my shelf eventually, though.


Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code
This book focuses on Object-Oriented endeavors, like most books on software development. It hones in on refactoring specifically, however, and defines methodology and approaches relevant to refactoring preexisting code. This is a "catalog-style book," similar to Design Patterns.


Seven Languages in Seven Weeks: A Pragmatic Guide to Learning Programming Languages
This book caught my eye at the local bookstore, and it has become even more interesting since. The language choices are rather interesting. I've been looking into JRuby, Scala, and Clojure recently, and all three are given a look. (Well, the C implementation of Ruby is, anyways.) This could be a good way to start learning those languages on my own.


The Cognitive Dynamics of Computer Science: Cost-Effective Large Scale Software Development
Amazon suggested this book as I was looking up all the others. While many of the books on this list approach being solely about software development, this book appears to include a lot of computer science and even philosophy. This book seems rather unique in that it deals with the intellectual as well as the practical.



Not including The Passionate Programmer, which I already own, this list checks in at nearly $180, which is a hefty sum. Again, I'm looking for suggestions regarding how to reduce this list, but additional recommendations are also welcome.

This post has been edited by WaeV: 16 May 2011 - 01:29 AM


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Replies To: Which of These Books Do You Recommend?

#2 Macjohn  Icon User is offline

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Re: Which of These Books Do You Recommend?

Posted 16 May 2011 - 02:12 AM

"The Cognitive Dynamics of Computer Science: Cost-Effective Large Scale Software Development"

I have a friend who read it, and like you said "This book seems rather unique in that it deals with the intellectual as well as the practical."

For me I would probably buy

- The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master
- Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship -for some code examples
- The Cognitive Dynamics of Computer Science: Cost-Effective Large Scale Software Development - to have a bit of theory


On the other hand I might probably be judging a book by its cover but a book called "Seven Languages in Seven Weeks: A Pragmatic Guide to Learning Programming Languages" I would not buy, I mean, if you allready know a bit of programming you will not pick a bok to mess up your brain.



I tend to have 3 or 5 (I've like 15 in my shelf) good books for codes and stuff, and 7 or 8 (I've a bit more, something like 45(I'm just saying a number, never counted them) for the theory.
Always good to read a bit of theory and for the code part, just put it in practice, open the IDE and go for it.
I have a pretty big shelf but they don't belong to me, they'r my dad's thought(He's also a programmer)

This post has been edited by Macjohn: 16 May 2011 - 02:13 AM

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#3 DivideByZero  Icon User is offline

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Re: Which of These Books Do You Recommend?

Posted 16 May 2011 - 02:48 AM

I own Code Complete and Design Patterns, they are brilliant books that I wish I read earlier.
But they are also books you would want to read after you're a proficient in a language first.
If you are not, don't get them yet.
If you are, buy them now!
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#4 darek9576  Icon User is offline

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Re: Which of These Books Do You Recommend?

Posted 16 May 2011 - 03:22 AM

Well.. i do not own any of these books, but during summer i plan to get Design Patterns - so that i will be better at spotting solutions right away - and Code Complete :). Cant wait!
(By getting i mean borrowing from the library - I aint that rich).

This post has been edited by darek9576: 16 May 2011 - 03:23 AM

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#5 WaeV  Icon User is offline

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Re: Which of These Books Do You Recommend?

Posted 16 May 2011 - 01:29 PM

Thanks. I managed to look at a few of these in the school library, but I still can't decide. I suppose I can just order The Pragmatic Programmer to start and get more books later.
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#6 Renagado  Icon User is offline

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Re: Which of These Books Do You Recommend?

Posted 16 May 2011 - 05:46 PM

I own the Pragmatic Programmer, and I don't think you'll regret getting it. It's not that there will be some mind blowing new insights in it, all that's there is something you "know" already just by using logic. But what this book does, is make you think about what you do. That's why it's great, some self-reflection is always a good thing. Plus, I think it's the thinnest book on your list(haven't seen them all though), so you can always go for others after this one if needed.(that's pragmatic thinking right ;) )

Maybe another tip(I don't know if you're into Java) but Effective Java is absolutely great, even for non-Java programmers.
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#7 cfoley  Icon User is offline

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Re: Which of These Books Do You Recommend?

Posted 17 May 2011 - 09:42 AM

I have read a few of the books from that list but they are by no means cheap! I borrowed them from my uni library. Sure, some books you will want to refer to again and again but for others once through is enough. I highly recommend checking out your library.
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#8 WaeV  Icon User is offline

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Re: Which of These Books Do You Recommend?

Posted 17 May 2011 - 12:31 PM

My university library has most of them (all of them, but one is an electronic copy :X ), but I don't think my itty bitty hometown will have any.

Readability is the thing, though. I'm pretty sure that The Pragmatic Programmer has huge readability value. What about the others?
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#9 cfoley  Icon User is offline

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Re: Which of These Books Do You Recommend?

Posted 17 May 2011 - 01:49 PM

Can you not borrow them over the Summer? My uni allows you to renew the loan over the net too.
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#10 WaeV  Icon User is offline

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Re: Which of These Books Do You Recommend?

Posted 17 May 2011 - 02:05 PM

Huh. I never thought to ask. All the books I've checked out recently have to be returned before the end of term, and I just assumed that you couldn't take them for the summer.
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#11 cfoley  Icon User is offline

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Re: Which of These Books Do You Recommend?

Posted 17 May 2011 - 02:31 PM

Anyway, to answer your main question, here is what I think of the books I've read:

Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code
I read this at exactly the right time for me. As well as refactoring it described "bad code smells" as things you might want to refactor. That pointed out a lot of poor code I was regularly writing myself.

Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction, Second Edition
This one is sitting in my 'to read' pile at work. It goes into a lot of depth on a lot of topics. They don't all seem interesting to me right now but I can see that if I move out of research then it they might be more appealing. That said, much of the book looks like it will be very useful.

Design Patterns
This is a book that you could read ten times over and still not have learned everything it has to offer. I was completely overwhelmed on my first pass. I was happy that I recognised several of the patterns from APIs that I use, that I already did some of its best practices (although I had no idea what I was doing had a name) and noticed one or two patterns that were new to me that would help me with current projects. It's probably about time for me to have another flick through actually.
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#12 calebjonasson  Icon User is offline

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Re: Which of These Books Do You Recommend?

Posted 18 May 2011 - 10:40 AM

I read a design pattern book and loved it. There is so much good information that can be used over and over.
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