I just finished reading The Pragmatic Programmer: from journeyman to master by Andrew Hunt and David Thomas. I'll be straight with you: I bought it because it is listed in Steve Yegge's list of great books. Okay, that's not the only reason; there are plenty of other bloggers that also have great things to say about it. I hoped that it might be particularly relevant to me because sometimes I am too much of a purist/perfectionist and not pragmatic enough. In this regard I misunderstood the title - I expected the subject matter would touch on the tension between perfection and pragmatism, but this is not the case. Calling the book "The Smart Programmer" would be more exact, though probably not as marketable. All programmers think they are smart, so who would buy a book with a title like that? This book is a bit odd. It reads more like a series of blog posts about good software development practice than a textbook. Part of the reason I say this is the sections are quite short and diverse - it never goes into a great deal of depth. Topics covered include error handling, debugging, testing, refactoring, gathering requirements, development environments, algorithms, prototyping and many more. But through all these topics, I can't really point out anything the book discussed that I wasn't already familiar with. Hence my previous comment about the title. Its about being a better and faster programmer - I don't equate this with pragmatism. The reason The Pragmatic Programmer had so little to offer me is that I've already read so many blogs and articles that touch on the same subject matter. Good software developers analyze their own actions and constantly seek to improve their processes and expand their knowledge. If you've already been doing this for a few years, then this book probably won't offer you much beyond some reinforcement. I can't help but wonder whether I will be saying the same thing about Code Complete by Steve McConnell once I finally get around to reading it. Its an extremely popular book, often listed as the number one mandatory read for developers. Apparently much of the book is 'common sense' and that rings very true of The Pragmatic Programmer also. Next book on my list is Domain Driven Design by Eric Evans. I was told to read this years ago but I was stupid and ignored the advice and now I'm worser for it. But, its never too late to set things straight - I'm a few chapters in and its proving to be excellent.
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