Monthly Archives: August 2016

Book Review: Becoming a Better Programmer

Becoming a Better Programmer: A Handbook for People Who Care About Code Book Cover Becoming a Better Programmer: A Handbook for People Who Care About Code
Pete Goodliffe

This book may serve as your mentor in case you do not have a large network of successful and experienced ones.

It covers most of the topics you will experience in life of a professional software engineer: programming, testing, practicing, working with people and being more efficient at your job. I've found Part III Getting Personal and first chapter of Part IV Getting Things Done useful, but it just me. Your mileage may very - depending on your experience and time spent in the software industry,

Few important things are missing from this book: politics of large and small organizations, climbing corporate ladder & truly achieving amazing results as a software engineer.

But to get you started, this book will be good enough.

Book Review: “Learning to Program”

Learning to Program Book Cover Learning to Program
Steven Foote

I don't even know where to start, but let me try.

With the growth of the web and an influx of neophytes from all walks of life there is an infinite demand for books to get you off the ground and start "coding." These are the books better known as "Learn X in 24 hours" and "Y for dummies". This work continues the proud tradition started during the glorious plastic-pants CEO days of Dot-com bubble of the late 1990s.

Of course, it starts with "Hello World" to get you going fast. It also talks about how "your computer is stupid" and talks about "short-term" and "long-term memory". Unsurprisingly, it uses JavaScript as a programming language and fails to explain "how software works", even though the full chapter 2 is dedicated to this topic. On page 31 the author explicitly states that "you don't need to know the details of how your code becomes binary (sic!), but you do need to know that it happens".

Do I need to mention that the term "Algorithm" is absent from table of contents?

I guess this book can get  you going with basic web development, but the amount of bad patterns & misconceptions that need to be corrected years into career are making it a poor choice.

There is really no shortcut to learn programming, take CS50 from Harvard instead, it is free and teaches things in a proper way without omitting fundamentals. Oh yeah, and professor Malan is amazing.

Book Review Rating Guide

Here are the definitions for star ratings for my book reviews:

***** An original work, masterpiece, must-read book.

**** Very good book with a lot of interesting insight, useful & enriching experience. This is the book you just can’t put down.

*** Satisfactory experience, several good ideas and not too many cliches, worth reading if you have a lot of free time.

** Either poorly written book or an obvious copy-paste full of common knowledge for the area.

* Very poorly written book, complete waste of time. Something that I normally wouldn’t review as just skimming through the book reveals that.