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Developer's Reading List

, January 24, 2012 The latest books off the press cover code readability, Java performance, hunting for and prying open security defects, game testing, architecture, and even OpenVMS.
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The Art of Readable Code: Simple and Practical Techniques for Writing Better Code

Dustin Boswell and Trevor Fourcher

Being the editor of Dr. Dobb's gives me a special stake in a topic that has long entertained my thoughts: making code readable. So, when this book slipped into my inbox, I gave it a very careful read-through. At 180 pages, it can be read in one sitting — in part due to its easy-going style and sensible content. The book avoids finger-wagging or laying down inviolable rules; instead, it carefully walks through well-chosen, illustrative examples that elegantly communicate the authors' recommendations. The authors make good arguments for avoiding things like ternary operators, while-loops, and other constructs (The book applies equally to all languages with C-based syntax). The text also tackles meatier topics: variable naming, writing clear unit tests, when to write comments and how. In some places, where flame wars are likely to erupt, the authors do a good job of stating their opinion and the reasons for it and they avoid waving red flags or inveighing against opposing positions.

While books of this kind are often positioned toward beginner and intermediate programmers as well as self-taught developers, even code masters will find value from a read-through. Highly recommended. — Andrew Binstock

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