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Beautiful Code: Leading Programmers Explain How They Think
by Andy Oram & Greg Wilson (editors)

1 edition
June 2007
618 pages

Reviewed by Frank Carver, May 2008
  (10 of 10)

This is a delightful book. A collection of 33 chapters, each by a different author, all of them worthy of study and thought. Each author was given the same brief - write about your most beautiful code - and the results range widely across the software landscape. Trendy topics such as concurrency and "Map Reduce" nestle cozily with their old friends quicksort and regular expressions. Languages used include the obvious Java and C#, but also JavaScript, perl, Fortran, scheme and others. Don't be frightened, though. No specialist skills are needed other than an inquisitive mind and some experience of software development.

Although there are code samples aplenty in this book, it's not really for direct use. If you want copy-and-paste solutions, look elsewhere. What this book offers is deep insight into what good code is, and how it is created.

It felt somehow wrong to chew and swallow this book for a review. This is a book like a box of fine chocolates; even choosing what to consume next is pleasant anticipation, and each morsel is best savoured, slowly, to get the most enjoyment. Beautiful Code will take a well-deserved place on my bookshelf alongside "The Pragmatic Programmer" and next to the gap where Bentley's "Programming Pearls" once stood. I won't be lending this one out in a hurry, though.

If you care about the craft of code, you should buy this book.

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