Beautiful Code – A Collection Of Essays On Programing

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Beautiful Code
Leading Programmers Explain How They Think
By Andy Oram, Greg Wilson
Edited by Andy Oram, Greg Wilson

Beautiful Code – The title immediately caught my attention and made me dream. I’ve been coding from the age of twelve and beautiful code always inspired me. I always headed for producing the most beautiful piece of code for any task – not always getting there, though. So in the end Beautiful Code looked like the perfect book to me.

The book contains a selection of 33 essays written by programers coming from different industries and backgrounds. Each essay focuses on a single task or programing topic, eg. search, dictionaries or unit testing. Those tasks are usually described in good detail to understand the problem and solution the author found. For some tasks you also get a recap on the complete journey the author took to get from initial tries to final solution. The themes are widespread and there is no common topic – more specific than coding – glueing them together.

You get a broad view on coding and on how experienced programers solve common tasks. There is much to learn from this for the experienced programer who wants to improve. But don’t take this book like the usual coding advice. It’s more of a helicopter view how to think.

This book is hardly meant to be read from start to end to master a problem. It’s more of a deflection. A book you read during your off-hours, to get insight on how others think and work. To broaden your own mind. And – first and foremost – as entertainment.

This book is a nice to have and makes a great present for any geek/hacker/coder you know.

O’Reilly also offers a successor to this book: Making Software.