Seven Languages in Seven Weeks
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Seven Languages in Seven Weeks

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  465 ratings  ·  36 reviews
You should learn a programming language every year, as recommended by The Pragmatic Programmer. But if one per year is good, how about Seven Languages in Seven Weeks? In this book you'll get a hands-on tour of Clojure, Haskell, Io, Prolog, Scala, Erlang, and Ruby. Whether or not your favorite language is on that list, you'll broaden your perspective of programming by exami...more
Paperback, 328 pages
Published November 17th 2010 by Pragmatic Bookshelf (first published 2010)
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I've been slinging Java code since 1996 and have become very comfortable with its object-oriented paradigm and syntax. This is the 21st century so surely there must be other programming languages out there that are worth exploring? This book helped me to understand the various paradigms that are out there. This book isn't a deep dive but gives you a very good feel for what it is like to craft a solution in each language. Missing are how exceptional conditions are handled or how a large solution...more
While I was glad to see the material on Clojure--I was a LISP person back in the 1980s--I have to say that the rest of the material left me pretty cold. Like the author, I use a lot of different computer languages (C#, Perl, and R get a lot of use), but rarely have the choice of which I's dictated either by company policy, or by which language that I already know that best addresses the problem I'm dealing with. Maybe it's just me, but none of the languages I saw in this book made me th...more
I did not like this book one bit. There are a number of reasons for this, so let me take them in turn.

First the tone is resolutely jokey, with an overall conceit that each of the seven languages is a character from a movie. Now this may help some people, but to my mind words spent discussing Ferris Bueller are words that could have been devoted to discussing the language in question. As far as I'm concerned, the shorter a technical book is, the better, and I'd prefer it if it didn't try to tell...more
Douglas Hackney
Bruce Tate does the nearly impossible in providing a fast paced but accomplish-able guide through seven programming languages.

He provides a good balance between the why and the how, while always focusing on pragmatic, delivered results. He spares no sacred cows in illuminating the weaknesses of each language, but also spares nothing in featuring their strengths.

In the end, you'll be left knowing, just as you always knew, that no one tool is the best at all things. But, you'll also know which o...more
Daniel R.
This book offers an exploration of various programming paradigms (object oriented, prototype, constraint-logic, and functional), concurrency models (actors, futures, and transactional memory), and programming constructs (list compression, monads, and matching). None of the topics are covered in great detail but for those curious what Ruby, Io, Prolog, Scala, Erlang, Clojure, and Haskell are all about, this book does a reasonable job of introducing and demonstrating each language. The writing is...more
Daniel Temme
It's a lot of work to go through the book. And you really need to work through at least some of the examples to get the most of the book. But it's a really well-structured book, with the chapters building up on each other and introducing new concepts along. Probably best read in some sort of study group to keep one from slacking off.
Alex Ott
Good book that provides coverage of different programming languages, trying to explain their paradigms, and basic constructs... This book could be used as a base to find which language to study next
Chris Maguire
A fantastic book. I would urge anyone thinking of reading this book to DO THE EXAMPLES. The first time I went through the Ruby section I missed so much by not going through the examples.

On the fourth language I skipped the examples because I strongly dislike Scala; I'm already very familiar with Java, I don't like the syntax and Venkat gave Scala a bad rap with his poorly executed book.

I enjoy Bruce's writing, he really brings out the unique aspects of the language in a concise, frank, humurou...more
The author does not go so much deep, but after all you are full of ideas enough. So take it as a teaser for these languages.

Learning to program is like learning to swim. No amount of theory is a substitute for diving into the pool and flailing around in the water gasping for air. The first time you sink under the water, you panic, but when you bob to the surface and gulp in some air, you feel elated. You think to yourself, “ I can swim. ” At least that ’ s how I felt when I learned...more
Bart Bakker
This review is taken from my blog article End of Journey. For a full set of articles about this fantastic book, see

This fantastic journey through 7 different languages started with Ruby, a language that adopts today's mainstream programming paradigm of object orientation, and with so much syntactic sugar that every programmer is able to understand what's going on.

Through the Io language that uses the prototype based programming s...more
May 08, 2011 Rob rated it 3 of 5 stars Recommends it for: would-be polyglot programmers
I like the idea of this book more than the book itself. Granted, Tate took on a daunting task: how do you introduce seven divergent languages with seven divergent styles and seven divergent intents in the space of one book? The mission is a good one at least: introduce apprentice or journeyman programmers to a diverse array of programming languages and styles to help thing break out of their comfortable little already-known toolkit.

The approach is at least a half-way decent one: introduce a lang...more
An excellent survey course on a variety of programming languages and concepts. Don't expect to become more than conversant with the ideas in a particular language after reading about it here, though- three days a pop doesn't get you the ability to Get Stuff Done. Instead, you'll get the most out of this book if you treat it one or both of two ways:

1) A buffet of samples: try a bit of each language and see if any intrigue you enough to dive in further. I bought a copy of Clojure Programming after...more
Steven Tomcavage
So I skipped the chapters on IO and Ruby. I already read a book on Ruby and after working through Haskell, Clojure, Prolog, Erlang, and Scala, I was wiped out mentally. Very good introduction to these languages. I can ee myself continuing with Clojure and Scala. Haskell seems like far too much of a commitment to learn, though I would like to understand monads more. This book obviously didn't dive deep enough into any language, but that's where language specific books come into play. It's a good...more
The book is quite demanding if one wants to understand the discussed seven languages (which are pretty different by choice). The exercises were sometimes time-taking, which is natural as learning a new language takes pretty much time at the beginning, behalf of understanding the basic concepts of the languages, also the little tricks of their syntax needs to be mastered.

I was already experienced with ruby. This book pointed my attention to Clojure and Erlang for practical reasons and to Haskell...more
James Scourtos
i was mainly interested in the declarative languages in the book. I kinda wished that the book only focused on pure languages such as Haskell, and another logical language that was other then Prolog. However that wasn't the main problem with the book. I wanted a book that got to the point of each language, and this book sort of does, but then it does what allot of other programming books do, gets too much into details about features that feel like distractions to me. It would be nice to see a si...more
Ruby, Io, Prolog, Scala, Earlang, Clojure and Haskel,

This book was not so much about the languages, but more about the different paradigms in programming.
Ruby's syntax showed me how enjoyable writing code can be, Prolog blew my mind when it breezed trough a soduku puzzle by just giving it the rules of the game. The functional languages like Clojure and Haskell made me realize that I have a lot to learn, there's a whole different way of reasoning about computations. I am definitely going to look...more
Really great read: I'm definitely interested in learning some more about Prolog and Haskell, but it was also interesting to see different methods of solving problems with computer languages.

I think there may have been some room for an additional "day" for each language, perhaps if only to look at some bigger examples of these languages in use in the wild. It would have also been interesting to do a quick section on other languages that are "similar" (for example, what is the relationship between...more
It is a worthwhile attempt to exlore other programming paradigms besides the one you are most comfortable with. This book makes a good effort at describing some of the paradigms by taking examples from different kinds of languages. It is compact but still slightly repetitive, focusing quite a lot on list operations in different languages.

It's still definitely worth it to at least skim through the book. It shouldn't take more than a ten hours or so, even if the title talks about seven weeks.
Scott Koon

I thought it was ok. I thought it would describe an approach for learning new languages. I didn't know the title was literal. Nice to see Prolog and Clojure in there, but Ruby and Haskell were obvious choices and there are NUMEROUS web sites and books for learning those languages. I think Smalltalk should have been included because it's so different, VM image based, True OO, built in editor, etc...
I admit that I did not do enough of the exercises to benefit the most from this book. With that being said, I think that had a reader committed to following through and doing all of the exercises, they would learn a great deal. Each of these languages brings something interesting to the table, and learning them can only benefit the developer.
Kevin Webster
Great overview on a wide range of programming languages. We read the book as a group at my work and found that we had a hard time getting through a language a week. If you really want to explore the material, I would recommend you give each language more than a week.
Xavier Shay
Great survey of some new languages. I didn't find the last two chapers (clojure and haskell) as well explained as the others, but they certainly inspired me to do my own research, which I believe was the point.
James Spada
Bruce makes for an excellent host as we gather around to sample the wines he presents. Lifting the glasses to the light and discovering the depths of the aromas. It was an excellent sampling and learning exploration.
Jul 18, 2012 Bill rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: experienced programmers
An unusually in-depth overview of seven programming languages representing seven different programming models. It turned me on to Clojure, a lisp built on top of the JVM, something that will fit well in my toolbox.
Todd Hunter
Its always interesting to have some exposure to a few different languages. Probably moves a little to fast for my liking and the programming problems can be fairly complex. Otherwise its an interesting read.
It's a good introduction to seven different languages.
It won't make you an expert at any of them but it might broaden your horizon.
An all in all good book for the aspiring programmer.
Matthew Rotter
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I thought the content was great, it was well-written, thoughtful and it has piqued my interest in a number of new languages.
Luca Campobasso
Total! I'm confident it will become a classic of programming literature :) very well made and I had fun with it! totally suggested!
Christof Dorner
Will revisit it later, it involves quite a lot of work. Just reading it through is not enough
Jan Van Ryswyck
Great book for any developer who wants to figure out which programming language to learn next.
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I have a question, need help. 1 21 Dec 08, 2010 09:11PM  
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