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Beautiful Code > What do you think about this book?

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message 1: by Brad (new)

Brad (bradrubin) | 264 comments Mod
If I were to pick one word to describe this book, it would be "uneven". First, the book is supposed to be about code, yet many chapters are better classified as architecture discussions. Some chapters are beautifully written and clearly convey the problem and the solution, along with alternatives and clear statements about beauty in the context of the problem. Other chapters are weighed down in domain-specific jargon and detailed code listings, and it can be difficult to see the forest. Some chapters have original material, and at least one chapter has dated material that appeared elsewhere.

A once read that you can judge the goodness of a book by the degree it changes you. In this context, the Beautiful Concurrency chapter (which I read before reading this whole book), caused me to investigate Haskell in greater depth, and was the source for lecture material on language concurrency issues and the trend toward horizontal growth in processors via increasing core counts. The chapter on MapReduce prompted me to expand upon this topic in my information retrieval course. In small ways, this book changed me.

I have never read Jon Bentley's two books on Programming Pearls, but they appear aimed at the same objective as this book. They would make an interesting compare/contrast to this one.

3/5 stars.

message 2: by Erik (new)

Erik | 165 comments The book doesn't transition like traditional literature. A few chapters are paired in a topic introduction and related issues (for example, Chapter 12 and 13).

The chapters are mostly independant and self sufficient. That's a little like having low coupling and high cohesion.

I would call this book "Modular".

message 3: by Brad (new)

Brad (bradrubin) | 264 comments Mod
I am reading Steven Levy's "Hackers", and ran across this passage, which defines "Beautiful" to me:

"The Right Thing implied that to any problem, whether a programming dilemma, a hardware interface mismatch, or a question of software architecture, a solution existed that was The perfect algorithm. You'd have hacked right into the sweet spot, and anyone with half a brain would see that the straight line between two points had been drawn, and there was no sense trying to top it."

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