The Beautiful Code

With the England vs. Germany game around the corner this coming Wednesday, I caught a sniff this weekend of a new book called “Beautiful Code: Leading Programmers Explain How They Think.

With the England vs. Germany game around the corner this coming Wednesday, I caught a sniff this weekend of a new book called “Beautiful Code: Leading Programmers Explain How They Think.” I immediately wondered whether it would be a mind expanding – or perhaps slightly numbing – read. According to this tome’s co-editor, the aim of the book was to help programmers by having some of the world's best-known developers 'think aloud' about their favourite pieces of code.

Beautiful Code is a collection of essays and articles by well-known software development and programming experts such as Brian Kernighan, creator of the C language, Jon Bentley, a renowned author of the book Programming Pearls, and Tim Bray, a major contributor to the XML and Atom web standards.

It sounds like we’re championing the work of great coders up there as we do with our favourite soccer stars doesn’t it? Whether that is a good thing or not I’ll leave you to decide; software engineers rarely seem to form fan clubs to worship the greatest achievers in the industry do they? But, in truth, if you look at the blog popularity of some of the industry’s most prolific coders (IBM Fellow Grady Booch immediately comes to mind) then there may be a sub-culture of developer devotees out there after all.

Currently rated No.1 on Amazon.com in the programming category, this book gives advice and case studies on how to creatively and carefully design solutions to high-profile software projects and development dilemmas. For example, the "Beautiful Tests" chapter written by Alberto Savoia, CTO of Agitar Software, helps developers understand how running consistent and thorough tests can make code more robust.

Is this kind of book likely to help you score more programming goals? Who knows – but it’s good to keep up your training routine at all times isn’t it?