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Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship [Paperback]

Robert C. Martin
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 1 2008 0132350882 978-0132350884 1
Even bad code can function. But if code isn’t clean, it can bring a development organization to its knees. Every year, countless hours and significant resources are lost because of poorly written code. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Noted software expert Robert C. Martin presents a revolutionary paradigm with Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship . Martin has teamed up with his colleagues from Object Mentor to distill their best agile practice of cleaning code “on the fly” into a book that will instill within you the values of a software craftsman and make you a better programmer—but only if you work at it.

What kind of work will you be doing? You’ll be reading code—lots of code. And you will be challenged to think about what’s right about that code, and what’s wrong with it. More importantly, you will be challenged to reassess your professional values and your commitment to your craft.

Clean Code is divided into three parts. The first describes the principles, patterns, and practices of writing clean code. The second part consists of several case studies of increasing complexity. Each case study is an exercise in cleaning up code—of transforming a code base that has some problems into one that is sound and efficient. The third part is the payoff: a single chapter containing a list of heuristics and “smells” gathered while creating the case studies. The result is a knowledge base that describes the way we think when we write, read, and clean code.

Readers will come away from this book understanding
  • How to tell the difference between good and bad code
  • How to write good code and how to transform bad code into good code
  • How to create good names, good functions, good objects, and good classes
  • How to format code for maximum readability
  • How to implement complete error handling without obscuring code logic
  • How to unit test and practice test-driven development
This book is a must for any developer, software engineer, project manager, team lead, or systems analyst with an interest in producing better code.


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Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship + The Clean Coder: A Code of Conduct for Professional Programmers + Code Complete (2nd Edition)
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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Even bad code can function. But if code isn't clean, it can bring a development organization to its knees. Every year, countless hours and significant resources are lost because of poorly written code. But it doesn't have to be that way.

Noted software expert Robert C. Martin presents a revolutionary paradigm withClean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship. Martin has teamed up with his colleagues from Object Mentor to distill their best agile practice of cleaning code “on the fly” into a book that will instill within you the values of a software craftsman and make you a better programmer—but only if you work at it.

What kind of work will you be doing? You'll be reading code—lots of code. And you will be challenged to think about what's right about that code, and what's wrong with it. More importantly, you will be challenged to reassess your professional values and your commitment to your craft.

Clean Codeis divided into three parts. The first describes the principles, patterns, and practices of writing clean code. The second part consists of several case studies of increasing complexity. Each case study is an exercise in cleaning up code—of transforming a code base that has some problems into one that is sound and efficient. The third part is the payoff: a single chapter containing a list of heuristics and “smells” gathered while creating the case studies. The result is a knowledge base that describes the way we think when we write, read, and clean code.

Readers will come away from this book understanding
  • How to tell the difference between good and bad code
  • How to write good code and how to transform bad code into good code
  • How to create good names, good functions, good objects, and good classes
  • How to format code for maximum readability
  • How to implement complete error handling without obscuring code logic
  • How to unit test and practice test-driven development
This book is a must for any developer, software engineer, project manager, team lead, or systems analyst with an interest in producing better code.

About the Author

Robert C. “Uncle Bob” Martin has been a software professional since 1970 and an international software consultant since 1990. He is founder and president of Object Mentor, Inc., a team of experienced consultants who mentor their clients worldwide in the fields of C++, Java, C#, Ruby, OO, Design Patterns, UML, Agile Methodologies, and eXtreme programming.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Be a professional Sept. 20 2008
Format:Paperback
If you want to be inspired to be a true professional programmer, Clean Code is a great book. A variety of topics are covered including naming, comments, formatting, exception handling, testing, and concurrency. Once you've read the book, the reference chapter on smells and heuristics is probably what you'll return to the most.

The common theme that runs through the book is the push to be a true professional when programming. More often than not we get something working and then move on, saying that we'll write the tests or refactor it later. A professional will clean up the mess immediately before moving on to the next task. In this sense the book is inspiring if these goals are in line with yours.

In some ways the book reminds me of Code Complete, but if you already have read that you will still find new content, in particular with the exhaustive examples that show various clean ups including a portion of JUnit. A couple of the examples feel like they go on too long, including an Appendix of 60 pages of a replacement Date class for Java. I just find reading that much code in a book to be more difficult than on-screen.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Book Changed Me June 17 2009
Format:Paperback
I'd been programming for eight years in various languages and technologies when I read this book so I wasn't an absolute beginner; but after I read this book my coding completely changed, and I think for the better.

What impressed me most about this book was the many examples: "Uncle Bob" gave practical before and after examples of applying the principals of clean code. The examples were realistic and worthwhile: he'd take a piece of code, iteratively apply different principals and by the time he was done the code looked, well, clean, both in design and readability.

From what I've heard, what people remember most is the principal of "self-documenting code". Now I too had heard all of that before and I'd seen some terrible "self-documenting" code; however, when Martin explained it--and gave examples--it began to make sense and I've been doing it ever since. Trust me, when _he_ explains it, it makes sense.

The book goes well beyond self-documenting code. I would recommend this book for anyone who codes, but especially for someone with a couple years of, not just writing code, but also reading other people's code; often it's hard to pin down just what is so difficult and clumsy about the code we write and Martin shows us.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great rules for long lasting code Oct. 29 2010
Format:Paperback
I am part way into this book and it's a great guide with specific examples on some best practices and recommendations on how To do and Not to for small and large code projects.

The writing style of the book is very easy to follow, and does not dry out with a sprinkle of geeky humor and real-life stories. The suggestions are based on the modern programming world today, and how the life of your code may last longer and go through more hands than you may expect.

I have already started to change my coding patterns based on some of these recommendations.. and I know shifting my mindset over whatever period of time towards cleaner code, will benefit me and those to come after me.

Clean Code should be standard for all programmers/architects/engineers in any position.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic June 22 2009
Format:Paperback
This book is for the serious software developer.

Add this to Fowler's Refactoring to make a great 1 - 2 punch.

While Fowler's Refactoring demonstrates techniques for moving code from one state to another, this book identifies lower level examples of what needs to be refactored (or written correctly the first time).

Read it, code for a month, and read it again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Precise and valuable Nov. 22 2009
Format:Paperback
This is the book that every programmer should read at least twice. Reading this book is enjoyable and fruitful. It won't tell you a specific technique, but a bunch of guidelines on how to write readable code for others and (especially) for your future self.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was well written and easy to follow, and it helped me to overcome many of my programming issues simply by teaching me how to write cleaner code.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Important book Feb. 9 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It is a very important book for every developer. A lot of valuable information in the book. It did teach me new way to have a clean code.
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