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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential... if you're beginning
There is a great number of positive reviews for this book, and rightfully so, however there are some critics with a good deal of experience in programming that seem to have some majors problems with it. I believe it comes down to this: it is packed full of common sense and great tips but it's all advice that anyone that has had a few years of experience will probably...
Published on Feb. 15 2012 by A Pragmatic Programmer

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read
This is a decent but not spectacular book, which is written as a series of 46 five to ten page articles on various programming topics, such as "Orthogonality", "Design by Contract" and "The Requirements Pit". The segments are quite heavily cross-referenced (which I didn't find very useful).

The authors dole out a lot of solid...
Published on Dec 5 2000 by Mark


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read, Dec 5 2000
By 
Mark (Ottawa, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master (Paperback)
This is a decent but not spectacular book, which is written as a series of 46 five to ten page articles on various programming topics, such as "Orthogonality", "Design by Contract" and "The Requirements Pit". The segments are quite heavily cross-referenced (which I didn't find very useful).

The authors dole out a lot of solid advice, which is the book's strength. I found myself disagreeing with very little. There are memorable tips and some good stories. The writing style is also very accessible and conducive to diving in at any page.

The book seems a bit lightweight. The exercises are a little simple and I don't think you'll find yourself going back to this book a lot. Also, the typeface is annoyingly large.

I'd recommend this to someone who has done some programming and understands the syntax and fundamentals but hasn't gotten into programming larger pieces of software. I think that if you have programmed anything significant you won't find much new in here.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars very disappointing!, Dec 14 2000
By 
Greg Tomkins (Vancouver, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master (Paperback)
this book sat on my "to read" list for months and i finally picked it up based on the strength of reviews here on Amazon. what a disappointment!! the world really doesn't need another book extolling the virtues of thorough upfront design and intense testing without any specific (or even vague) plans for overcoming the traditional difficulties in realizing both those objectives. yeah yeah we know, if we dont design enough up front, we will pay in the long term anyway. enough, already. i was hoping for some creative and interesting ideas and was utterly disappointed. this book is no more than a crude compilation of half-baked ideas from any number of other similar books.
if you're looking for something interesting, "the mythical man month" is a lot better, even though its dated. "inmates are running the asylum" by alan cooper is also great in that it creatively and productively challenges many of the old saws that books like "pragmatic programmer" trot out time and time again (i particularly like Cooper's rant against letting customers dictate design decisions and product paths).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great, Dec 24 2001
By 
Larry Musa - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master (Paperback)
I read the glowing reviews here and then browsed it at the bookstore...where it looked pretty good...When I took it home and started reading it, a different picture evolved...Here are a few nuggets:
1. Much of what the authors espouse is just common sense and would be picked up or developed by most bright developers on their own.
2. Some of what the authors espouse is just wrong...we have suggestions that if your code is correct then it will take little effort to make it run on Win16, Win 32 , and different flavors of Unix or whatever environment. I disagree. This would only be true for the most trivial programs. Even using a factory pattern, as opposed to the usual compiler switches, one could build such a losely coupled and modern system to run on different environments...but it would hardly be easy to do because the different environments require separate (and hardwon!) skillsets/knowledge...not easy to find in one developer...Perhaps the authors should try their hand on some cross-browser, cross operating system DHTML...and make sure it runs on all versions of Netscape to boot.
3. The authors elevating of the text editor and command line over IDE is just non-sense...and again wrong...they say you cannot configure the IDEs...anyone who has written an add-in for VB knows it is indeed possible.
4. I could go on, but I will conclude with their total lack of understanding of Physics which they quote wrongly...the Universe does not split(Shroedinger's cat) after a measurement and Heisenberg said it was ,IN PRINCIPAL, impossible to perform certain measurements without disturbing the system...On the other hand, it is perfectly possible to perform debugging without disturbing the code...
5. And they have the audacity to call their book "...from journeyman to master."
Having said all of that, there are good ideas to provoke one's computing thinking in this book...and so while I would recommend it, just be careful to examine their suggestions critically before adopting them.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book but just too wordy., Sept. 13 2000
By 
L. Parker "larrywp" (Carson City, NV USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master (Paperback)
The reviews I read about this book are pretty accurate, except this book is too wordy. It could be 1/2 the size it is if the authors would have gotten to the point faster. A lot of explanations go on and on and I am left wondering when am I going to get to read what the point is?! Get to it!
The two authors are certainly qualified to author this book, judging by what their backgrounds are. For the most part, the chapters are interesting, informative, and thought provoking. Most of the ideas are not what the average, or above average programmer would think of.
Some of the ideas though are not worth the paper to print them on, and many of them are not explained well enough. Given the amount of words for explanations, this should not have been. Therefore, I can only give this book three stars. Overall I feel that the book is too drawn out and not to the point enough.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential... if you're beginning, Feb. 15 2012
This review is from: The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master (Paperback)
There is a great number of positive reviews for this book, and rightfully so, however there are some critics with a good deal of experience in programming that seem to have some majors problems with it. I believe it comes down to this: it is packed full of common sense and great tips but it's all advice that anyone that has had a few years of experience will probably have picked up already. I wish I had come upon this book as I was entering the job market, but most of it just made me nod in agreement. While I didn't get the epiphany other books managed to provide, even for an experienced programmer, it is good to be reminded of those sound advices and of why exactly we do the things we do the way we do them.

All the tips are covered superficially, but with enough depth that you understand the what and the why, and can still go to the next one quickly. Further chapters don't depend on previous ones, so you can jump in at any topic that interests you. As such, it makes a good a-tip-a-day read.

While the main advice it provides is simply "care about your craft", it is advice I wish more would follow and this book just might convince some and teach the beginners some of what that actually entails. In the end, the simplicity of this book is what makes it such an interesting read.

The font is indeed a bit too big to be comfortable on the eyes, but the chapters are short enough that you aren't forced to strain for hours. The layout of the chapters also seems a bit random.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for every programmer. Fun, Enjoyable., April 2 2006
This review is from: The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master (Paperback)
The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master, is a must-read for everyone involved in the software industry. The tone of this book is casual and often humorous making it fun, enjoyable and easy to read.
As the title implies, this book is targeted towards the programmer (the construction phase of software engineering). The authors outline common sense principals and practices that every developer SHOULD be aware of (but in reality most of these practices are overlooked).
These principals are often obvious, but keep in mind that "the obvious [...] is never seen until someone expresses it simply." (Kahlil Gibran) The authors express good program principals, outline the collection of tools every practitioner should have, and offer priceless advice in a simple manner.
This book left me with many unanswered questions, the authors offered a lot of "How-Tos" and "What-Tos" with out answering the "Whys". Code Complete [Steve McConnell] answers most (if not all) of these questions and in doing so, is three times the size. The Pragmatic Programmer makes an excellent prerequisite to Code Complete. Both books should be read.
It's interesting to note that both authors (Andrew Hunt, David Thomas) are authors of the Agile Manifesto, and have a series of Pragmatic Programming books (Pragmatic AJAX, Agile Web Development With Rails, Programming Ruby, etc...).
Their other texts are equally humorous and easy to read.
The Pragmatic Programmer must simply be read and then re-read, I can attest "this book will help you become a better programmer" (Preface).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good for beginning programmers, Nov. 28 1999
By 
Paul D. Ferguson (Santa Clara, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master (Paperback)
The Pragmatic Programmer is a mixed bag. It attempts to cover a large number of broad topics, ranging from object-oriented design to algorithm speed to testing strategies. As a result, each topic gets a fairly superficial treatment, only skimming the surface before moving onto something else.
My other reservation about the book is that the authors are "Unix geeks", and view the world accordingly. They touch on Windows mostly to urge readers to put a Unix shell on top of it; other platforms like Mac OS are mentioned not at all. Personally, I am tired of "real programmers use the command line", or "Emacs is God" posturing (despite the authors' earnest but flawed attempts to justify these), and felt it detracted from an otherwise useful book. Worse, the authors fail to discuss any tools related to building complex interactive applications, a significant omission from the stated goals and scope of the book.
Those complaints aside, the book does contain useful information and ideas, especially for new programmers who often don't have a strong grasp on the bigger picture of software development. The authors offer good insights on topics like design by contract, documentation, and refactoring, which new programmers often fail to appreciate.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to be a real programmer and engineer, Dec 13 2003
By 
Jack D. Herrington "engineer and author" (Silicon Valley, CA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master (Paperback)
If you actually like programming. If you don't think programming by horde is a good idea. Or if you aren't looking at it as a stepping one to management. Then you need to read this book. It will make you think about your profession in a whole new light, as a skill and a discipline. After the wave of horde programming J2EE nightmares has passed and there is still real work to be done by programmers it is people who look at programming as a life-long skill who will be left to build the interesting stuff. Get involved. Get on-board. Enjoy programming. Read this book.
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What rubbish!, May 17 2000
This review is from: The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master (Paperback)
I like to consider myself a master craftsman. My craft is that of programming. I live for programming. Programming is rarely from my thoughts. I am constantly thinking of ways to improve my craft. Learn a new skill. Develop a new tool. What went wrong? How can I do better next time?
Programming is a rapidly changing craft. A machinist can learn to work a lathe or a milling machine, and expect that his knowledge will stand him in good stead for the rest of his working life. Not so for the craftsman programmer. Ours is a new craft. We are still learning how to do it. Having survived in the game for a decade or two, and having learned dozens of languages, operating systems, database management systems, transaction processing managers, editors, we come to the realisation that this is a hard game. Each of us learns skills that help us cope with all that change. We learn basic programming skills. We go on learning them. We learn to see what is coming, and move in anticipation. We learn what is important, and what is not. We watch those who are successful, and try to emulate them. We watch the unsuccessful with horrid fascination, and try to learn from them also. "There but for the grace of God go I!"
I don't know how to make an object oriented design. I can do design sketches. So I start from there. I build my system, dealing with the problems as they arise. I rely on my experience to keep me out of trouble. When I see commonality between two classes, I take the opportunity to refactor and eliminate the commonality. I am quite happy to rewrite any piece of code to make it better. You know what happens? I end up with a well-designed system despite myself. I am an opportunistic programmer.
I saw the title of this book, and thought: "That's me!"
So I bought it. What a disappointment! It is full of platitudes. It reads like a writer's style manual. It is good to do things this way. It is a bad idea to do it that way. It has no meat to it, no depth. If you want to know more about the topics they discuss, you won't find it in this book. You won't find much of it in the references either.
Let me quote a typical example from the section entitled "Text Manipulation". "Pragmatic Programmers manipulate text the same way woodworkers shape wood ... We need a general purpose text manipulation tool ... Text manipulation languages are to programming what routers are to woodworking. They are noisy, messy, and somewhat brute force. Make mistakes with them, and entire pieces can be ruined ... in the right hands, both routers and text manipulation languages can be incredibly powerful and versatile..." What rubbish! The analogy flows on, and is followed with the advice to learn a text manipulation language, and a list of things possible with such a language. There is not one practical example.
This continues for section after section. In Appendix A: Resources, the authors say "The only reason we were able to cover so much ground in this book is that we viewed many of our subjects from a high altitude. If we'd given them the in depth coverage they deserved, the book would have been ten times longer." All I can say is that they should have covered ten times fewer subjects, to the depth of coverage they deserved.
A journeyman programmer wanting to become a master is advised to study at the side of a master. Buy Kernighan and Pike's The Practice of Programming.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A modern classic, April 15 2004
By 
Dave Astle (San Diego, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master (Paperback)
A friend of mine recommended this book to me a year ago and I finally got around to reading it. Not only do I wish I had taken him up on his recommendation immediately, I wish that I had read it years earlier. The book's subtitle "from journeyman to master" really sums it up nicely.
The book contains practical advice from experienced programmers that will help you become a more effective software developer. Unlike many books which dogmatically preach a specific methodology, this book focuses on (not-so-)common sense practices that are simple yet effective, as well as highlighting potential pitfalls to be avoided. Many of them can be applied to your own development process without requiring radical changes, while others will require team- or project-wide changes. Fortunately the nature of the recommended practices is such that you don't have to adopt all of them to be effective. You can pick and choose which ones are most appropriate and gradually incorporate them into your development process.
The range of topics covered is fairly broad, but the important themes are writing easy-to-maintain, reusable code, identifying and adjusting requirements quickly and effectively, managing large projects, and avoiding bad habits and developing good attitudes. Although I don't absolutely agree with everything the authors present, the justification they provide is thought stimulating and will probably change how you do things even if you don't consciously decide to adopt any of their practices.
I found the exercises (and their accompanying solutions) scattered throughout the book to be extremely useful in internalizing the principles being taught, as well as gauging how well I approach problem-solving. I'd highly recommend working through them as you read the book.
Finally, it's worth mentioning how enjoyable this book is to read. The authors' sense of humor and sprinkling of anecdotes make this an easy read without in any way detracting from the content.
If you're a brand new programmer, you probably won't appreciate many of the ideas presented in this book, but come back after you have a year or two of experience. Successful, experienced programmers will find that this book confirms many of the things you're already doing, while providing a lot of useful ideas to become even better. Even if you're not a programmer, but manage or otherwise work with programming teams, you'll find a lot of helpful information here. If there were one book I could require all of my coworkers to read, this would be it.
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The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master
The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master by David Thomas (Paperback - Oct. 20 1999)
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