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Programming Style: Writing and Computation


How programming style is influenced by technology and writing craft.


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┬áVermeulen, Ambler, Bumgardner, Metz, Misfeldt, Shur, & Thompson

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

What influenced you?

Dak

By Dak

Father, leader, writer, scientist, visionary.

Technical software development leader (CTO, VP). Excels when improving and turning around teams, putting better tools and software architectures in place, and getting better outcomes.

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