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Beautiful Code: Leading Programmers Explain How They Think (Theory in Practice)

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How do the experts solve difficult problems in software development? In this unique and insightful book, leading computer scientists offer case studies that reveal how they found unusual, carefully designed solutions to high-profile projects. You will be able to look over the shoulder of major coding and design experts to see problems through their eyes.

This is not simply another design patterns book, or another software engineering treatise on the right and wrong way to do things. The authors think aloud as they work through their project's architecture, the tradeoffs made in its construction, and when it was important to break rules. Beautiful Code is an opportunity for master coders to tell their story. All author royalties will be donated to Amnesty International.

I got my first job as a programmer in the summer of 1982. Two weeks after I started, one of the system administrators loaned me Kernighan and Plauger's The Elements of Programming Style (McGraw-Hill) and Wirth's Algorithms + Data Structures = Programs (Prentice Hall). They were a revelation—for the first time, I saw that programs could be more than just instructions for computers. They could be as elegant as well-made kitchen cabinets, as graceful as a suspension bridge, or as eloquent as one of George Orwell's essays.

Time and again since that summer, I have heard people bemoan the fact that our profession doesn't teach students to see this. Architects are taught to look at buildings, and com-posers study one another's scores, but programmers—they look at each other's work only when there's a bug to fix; even then, they try to look at as little as possible. We tell students to use sensible variable names, introduce them to some basic design patterns, and then wonder why so much of what they write is so ugly.

This book is our attempt to fix this. In May 2006, I asked some well-known (and not so well-known) software designers to dissect and discuss the most beautiful piece of code they knew. As this book shows, they have found beauty in many different places. For some, it lives in the small details of elegantly crafted software. Others find beauty in the big picture—in how a program's structure allows it to evolve gracefully over time, or in the techniques used to build it.

Wherever they find it, I am grateful to our contributors for taking time to give us a tour. I hope that you enjoy reading this book as much as Andy and I have enjoyed editing it, and that it inspires you to create something beautiful, too.

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Neural Networks: Computational Models and Applications (Studies in Computational Intelligence)
Neural Networks: Computational Models and Applications (Studies in Computational Intelligence)

Artificial neural networks, or simply called neural networks, refer to the various mathematical models of human brain functions such as perception, computation and memory. It is a fascinating scientific challenge of our time to understand how the human brain works. Modeling neural networks facilitates us in investigating the...

Optically Stimulated Luminescence Dosimetry
Optically Stimulated Luminescence Dosimetry

Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) has become the technique of choice for many areas of radiation dosimetry. The technique is finding widespread application in a variety of radiation dosimetry fields, including personal monitoring, environmental monitoring, retrospective dosimetry (including geological dating and accident dosimetry),...

Show Me Macromedia Flash MX 2004
Show Me Macromedia Flash MX 2004

Show Me Macromedia Flash MX offers readers a fast, visual way to learn Flash MX, solve problems, and get work done!

  • Step-by-step instructions with accompanying visuals requires less time reading and more time learning this popular Web authoring...


Conscience: The Origins of Moral Intuition
Conscience: The Origins of Moral Intuition

How do we determine right from wrong? Conscience illuminates the answer through science and philosophy.

In her brilliant work Touching a Nerve, Patricia S. Churchland, the distinguished founder of neurophilosophy, drew from scientific research on the brain to understand its...

The Mobile MBA: 112 Skills to Take You Further, Faster
The Mobile MBA: 112 Skills to Take You Further, Faster

An MBA is a curious beast: it can accelerate your career, even if it has limited

practical value in day-to-day management.

Top employers hire top MBAs, but not because MBAs have mastered the mysteries of management. An MBA is a hallmark of personal commitment, effort, and ambition which
...
Windows 8.1: The Missing Manual (Missing Manuals)
Windows 8.1: The Missing Manual (Missing Manuals)

Windows 8.1 continues the evolution of the most radical redesign in Microsoft’s history. It combines the familiar Windows desktop with a new, touchscreen-friendly world of tiles and full-screen apps. Luckily, David Pogue is back to help you make sense of it—with humor, authority, and 500 illustrations.

The...

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