The Practice of Programming

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Addison-Wesley Professional, Feb 9, 1999 - Computers - 281 pages

With the same insight and authority that made their book The Unix Programming Environment a classic, Brian Kernighan and Rob Pike have written The Practice of Programming to help make individual programmers more effective and productive.

The practice of programming is more than just writing code. Programmers must also assess tradeoffs, choose among design alternatives, debug and test, improve performance, and maintain software written by themselves and others. At the same time, they must be concerned with issues like compatibility, robustness, and reliability, while meeting specifications.

The Practice of Programming covers all these topics, and more. This book is full of practical advice and real-world examples in C, C++, Java, and a variety of special-purpose languages. It includes chapters on:

  • debugging: finding bugs quickly and methodically
  • testing: guaranteeing that software works correctly and reliably
  • performance: making programs faster and more compact
  • portability: ensuring that programs run everywhere without change
  • design: balancing goals and constraints to decide which algorithms and data structures are best
  • interfaces: using abstraction and information hiding to control the interactions between components
  • style: writing code that works well and is a pleasure to read
  • notation: choosing languages and tools that let the machine do more of the work

Kernighan and Pike have distilled years of experience writing programs, teaching, and working with other programmers to create this book. Anyone who writes software will profit from the principles and guidance in The Practice of Programming .


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User Review  - brikis98 - LibraryThing

The book describes itself as a practical guide to general programming in the real world, but for the most part, doesn't deliver on that promise for a number of reasons. First, the book should have ... Read full review

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This is simply one of the BEST books on understanding the "what, how, why, when and where" of Good Programming. This is a great classic book on great software building.
Written by the Great Masters
Brian Kernighan and Rob Pike (who built great stuff like C language and Unix Operating System) this slim book taught me more about real programming than many huge tomes full of buzzwords.
"Simplicity, Clarity and Generality" are the 3 key principles of great programming.
Small and clear code mini-projects are used as ways to discuss what separates Superbly Elegant code from Spaghetti code.


Algorithms and Data Structures
Design and Implementation
Collected Rules

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About the author (1999)

Brian W. Kernighan works in the Computing Science Research Center at Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies. He is Consulting Editor for Addison-Wesley's Professional Computing Series and the author, with Dennis Ritchie, of The C Programming Language.

Rob Pike works in the Computing Science Research Center at Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies. He was a lead architect and implementer of the Plan 9 and Inferno operating systems. His research focuses on software that makes it easier for people to write software.


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