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Back to Basics... Still a Valuable Book
on April 25, 2004
I bought the 2nd edition of the book.
This book takes you to the Basics of Programming: Problem definition, Algorithm design , choosing the correct data structures, Assertions, Performance considerations during Design and coding, Code Tuning, Squeezing the space.
Though the examples are mainly based on searching and sorting and other primitive programming problems, the fundamental concepts and conclusions at the end of each column, are still valuable and hold true as they are 2 decades ago.
The examples and the exercises are challenging and enjoyable. But, don't expect things related to modern programming like related to High Level Programming languages or Databases, this is purely a Basics book focussing on techniques of solving the problems the simplest and the best way.
Some of the gem quotes or conclusions from the book are:
"Coding skill is just one small part of writing correct programs. The majority of the task is problem definition, algorithm design and data structure selection."
"Defining the problem is about ninety percent of the battle"
Characteristics of a good Aircraft(or a good program) - "Simple, few parts, easy to maintain, very strong"
"A designer knows he has arrived perfection not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to takeaway."
"Good programmers sit back and wait for an insight rather than rushing forward with their first idea"
"A proper view of data does indeed structure programs. Before writing code good programmers thoroughly understand the input, the output and the intermediate data structures around"