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The Art of Readable Code

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  607 ratings  ·  73 reviews
As programmers, weve all seen source code thats so ugly and buggy it makes our brain ache. Over the past five years, authors Dustin Boswell and Trevor Foucher have analyzed hundreds of examples of "bad code" (much of it their own) to determine why theyre bad and how they could be improved. Their conclusion? You need to write code that minimizes the time it would take ...more
Paperback, 204 pages
Published November 23rd 2011 by O'Reilly Media (first published September 15th 2010)
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Rajkumar Pagey
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: computer-science
1. Think of a variable name as a tiny comment. A good name can contain lot of information.
2. Aesthetically pleasing code is easier to read. Format your code in a consistent and meaningful way.
3. Put yourself in the reader's shoes. Think about what to comment, what not to comment and what the reader needs to know and how to convey that information in the least amount of space.
4. Instead of minimizing the number of lines, minimize the time needed for someone to understand it. Break down complex
Brandon Miller
Jan 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: cs-books
Nice quick read with lots of ideas. I don't think you could possibly remember half of their guidelines even on the third read-through. Maybe that's just me, though.
Quite possibly the most entertaining code book, but that's more due to the chapter-heading cartoons (a few of which were surprisingly funny) more than the text itself.
One thing that was annoying was the authors' attempt to include examples from seemingly every language ever conceived. I knew the python, recognized some C, got totally
Mar 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Good advice for the more junior developer. Maybe not the epic tome of dogmatic sledgehammery that is "Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship", by SOLID Uncle Bob Martin.

Definitely easier to practice these tenents however. Clear, clean, approachable.

Temo Tchanukvadze
Mar 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting concepts compiled into one small book about clean code. Some illustrations are funny and you won't get bored from reading guidelines. Recommended for Junior devs who've just started their journey.
Jul 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tech
Boswell & Foucher lay out a lot of useful tips and step-by-step examples demonstrating the art of readable code. While the purpose of the book is not to teach the art of architecture or design patterns, the essential basics are covered: naming variables, including comments, formatting code (e.g., column alignment, blocks, logic order, etc), simplifying loops, etc. Sure, many of these things may seem intuitive or could have been figured out on-the-job but if not, this is a great place to ...more
Rick Sam
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
I took this book to help me establish important habits of writing code. I would recommend this to anyone whose daily work involves programming or software development.

Let me try to summarize in few paragraphs:

The fundamental theorem of code is that it is code written must be easier to understand.

To make surface level improvements in our code, we want to define variables, functions with precise words, information packed comments and formatting in such a way that readability is easy.

We want to
Eduards Sizovs
Everything mentioned in this book has been described in great detail in Clean Code. There are absolutely no new takeaways or things to reconsider. If you've read Clean Code skip this book. If you haven't read Clean Code instead. ...more
Erika RS
Jan 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned, physical, software
This is an excellent book that focuses on one thing and describes it well. This book is not about grand methods of software engineering or code architecture. It is, as the title indicates, about writing readable code. Boswell and Foucher cover the small things that can be done to make code easier to read, and they discuss why their suggestions generally make code more readable.

The content here is not unique. Much of it can be found in Code Complete or Clean Code. Rather, it is the narrow focus
Mike Thompson
I'll be the first to admit some of the code I've written is ridiculously difficult to read. I didn't judge the quality of my code by how readable it was. "The Art of Readable Code" isn't the first book I've read that teaches the importance of writing code so that it can be read and understood. It is a good first book to read on the topic. It is well organized, taking the reader from localized concerns, such as picking good names, through structuring logic in a method, to partitioning algorithms. ...more
Elene Latsoshvili
Mar 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: programming
At first I was sceptical about reading this book, as I think there are just few rules for readable code and they are completely obvious (I am just a bit lazy to follow them). But its illustrated jokes got my attention and I ended up reading it. The rules are backed up with nice examples from real applications. It inspires to refactor and write cleaner code.
Kiril Kirilov
Dec 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sd
It is from 2010, but already feels a little bit outdated. Probably needs new edition - with more functional style examples.
Mattias Lundell
Feb 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
A lot of 'common sense' but still a decent book.
Nikolay Manolov
May 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Simple, clear, and enjoyable.
The book contains tons of nice short examples.
It revises things we have read about in "Refactoring", "Clean Code", and "Code Complete".
Risto Hinno
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great tips and reminder of writing more readable code. Easy to follow and should be suitable for most people who can write code at some level (book is pretty much language agnostic). Quick hacks are solution for today but problem tomorrow (who doesn't have had situation when he/she doesn't understand code which he/she wrote few months ago). Writing more readable code doesn't mean you have to be a senior developer. Everybody writing code should try to make code more readable (if you work alone ...more
Miguel Alho
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
A great book and a quick read. I'm reading it with 15 years of dev-ing anda after having read Clean Code. The book goes through some things that seem obvious, but that I can notice we rasily overlook. The use of "get" in method names is one of them in my case. I think this is one of those books that can be read every so often just to keep you on track to writting good code.

It overlaps on a few topics with Clean Code and A Philosophy of Software Design, but in that sense it's worth going through
Dec 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is built on the idea that a key goal for code you write should be readability, or the ease of understanding. The authors then go through a lot of different ways you can improve the readability of your code, giving examples in C++ and Python. Some of the points you'll no doubt already be following, but I suspect that just about everyone will find food for thought here. Reminds me of the Refactoring book. Only 180 pages, but packs a lot in. Recommended.
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Essential read for a junior developer. Please be one of the good guys that writes proper code. Likely a book to revisit over the course of a few years to learn and unlearn things each time. Last few chapters are a bit fluffy and overly focused on details. Perhaps my opinion will shift when I plan to reread it in 6 months.
Juan Diaz
Sep 10, 2020 rated it liked it
This good is not bad by any means. But as a programmer with 15 years of experience I frequently thought that I already saw the principles compiled in this book.
I would day this is an excellent book of you are an student or starting in the craft, but if you want more advanced topics it will be better if you look at some of the sources used in this book.
Elias Daler
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
Pretty good book.

Short and concise, full of useful advice. Most of the things are pretty obvious once you've read about them in "Code Complete" or "Clean Code", but there are still some things which will be new for the reader.
Ee Cheng Ooi
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
Being unfamiliar with the programming languages used in the examples made this book, ironically, very difficult to read. I appreciate the high level advice but will have to find my own ways to apply it.
Marco Neves
Jul 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a really interesting collection of suggestions on how to structure code that is generally language agnostic and very well structured.

Worth the time of every developer, even if your don't agree with all of it - i agree with a good chunk of it.
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is a really good book for having ideas about coding best practices.
It is short, objective and well written.
Sep 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Good entry-level stuff, and introduces the higher purpose of "making your code readable". Nothing groundbreaking here, though, after reading something like Clean Code.
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dev
Light and fun read, really enjoyed.
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
It is similar to the goal of The Clean Code, it has many good ideas to improve your source code. It should read it and feel your own.
bob cyberchrist
Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: programming
Robert Harężlak
May 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It's a great review of the best programming practices.
May 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Mostly good advice that is rehashed and (vastly) summarized from books like Code Complete and Clean Code.
Vitaliy Frolov
The book is really old but it can fresh my mind and good start for programmer.
Mohammad Tanviruzzaman
Apr 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: code_general
The book is about small, everyday stuff like a method argument is for size, is the size in terms of count of items, or is it in the unit of bytes? - the name should be unambiguous. The book has many such immediately applicable tricks. All tricks, however, revolve around making code readable for humans - that resonates well with me. All ideas for good writing still hold. I see the act of coding in a fresh and more enjoyable light.
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