“Exercises in Programming Style” by Cristina Videira Lopes is the best programming book to come along in many years. Casting back over many decades, the only book I can compare it to in terms of actionable value is Steve McConnell’s “Code Complete,” and in terms of approachability and sheer fun, it reminds me of Ted Nelson’s classic “Computer Lib/Dream Machines.”
The book is based on a simple idea: program the same task in the manner of 33 different programming styles, ranging from the “good ol’ times” form of a memory-constrained, identifier-free machine, to modern forms such as Map/Reduce and MVC. The task (determining the frequency of words in a text) is simple enough to generally only require a page of code in the style at hand, but is (surprisingly) sufficient to show each style’s signature characteristics. Chapters are typically shorter than eight pages—including source code—and are easily digestible even in our distraction-heavy world.
Read the full story on the SD Times website.