Programming Style: Writing and Computation

After yesterday’s (somewhat lame) post on Beautiful Code, I realized that there have been a number of books I’ve read, source code I’ve read, and projects I’ve participated on that have influenced my sense of software style and craft.

While most lists like this emphasize the computation books, I’ve noticed that there’s an implicit book missing from most of these lists, namely “The Elements of Style.”

Here’s my top set of core books on coding style that I really thing matter:

  • The Unix Programming Environment, by Kernighan and Pike,
  • The C Programming Language, by Kernighan and Ritchie,
  • the various ‘Lambda papers’ Guy Steele (Lambda, the ultimate imperative, etc.)
  • the Anatomy of Lisp by John Allen,
  • On Writing Well, by Zin
  • The Elements of Style by Strunk and White,

and, influenced by Strunk and White:

  • The Elements of Programming Style, by Kernighan and Plauger
  • The Elements of Java Style, by Vermeulen, Ambler, Bumgardner, Metz, Misfeldt, Shur, & Thompson

Interesting overlap with the list over at the Association for Computing Machinery (Classics).

What influenced you?

Dak

Advertisements

Beautiful code

If you are a programmer, or a manager of programmers, it is critically important to keep working to improve your craft and your sense of what good code is.  This book, Beautiful Code, edited by Andy Oram and Greg Wilson is a great collection of articles from leading practitioners in the field.  Very much worth your time.  (I don’t know Andy Oram, but I have corresponded with Greg Wilson, and we both attended University of Oregon.)

I decided to read this while browsing some papers and books at the ACM digital library, and got hooked.   Highly recommended.

(I’ve been taking more advantage of my Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) membership recently and the additional ‘digital library’ access; also recommended.)

Best regards,

Dak