Code Craft

Code Craft

The Practice of Writing Excellent Code
by Pete Goodliffe
December 2006, 624 pp.

"Some books you read because you have to, some you simply have to read. Pete's book is in the second category – it's useful and fun and it'll make you a better programmer."
Jez Higgins, ACCU Chairman

"Code Craft is a goldmine of information that every professional software developer should be aware of."
Tim Penhey, editor of C Vu Journal

You know how to write code that works, but what about code that's well written and easy to understand? And robust and bug-free? If other programmers looked at your handiwork, would they be able to figure out the code's logic and purpose? Exceptional programmers have more than just technical know-how; they adopt the right approach and attitude to development.

Code Craft will help take your programming beyond writing correct code to writing great code, thus turning you into a true programming professional or enhancing your existing professional skills.

With language-agnostic advice that's relevant to all developers, Code Craft covers code-writing concerns such as presentation style, variable naming, error handling, and security. And it tackles broader, real-world programming issues like effective teamwork, development processes, and documentation. Each chapter ends with a Q&A section that reviews key concepts to get you thinking like an expert, making it an especially great reference for newer programmers who want to work professionally and efficiently as part of a team.

This survival guide for the software factory will show you how to:

  • Write good code when the world's not helping you
  • Avoid disasters and distractions in the workplace
  • Assess your abilities accurately and determine ways to improve
  • Adopt productive attitudes and follow best practices

There's little more valuable than the advice of a true, programming professional. You'll find Code Craft to be clear, practical, and entertaining throughout, and a great way to take your code (and your career) to the next level.

Author Bio 

Pete Goodliffe is an expert software developer who never stays at the same place in the software food chain; he's worked in numerous languages on diverse projects. He also has extensive experience in teaching and mentoring programmers, and writes the regular "Professionalism in Programming" column for ACCU's C Vu magazine ( Pete enjoys writing excellent, bug-free code, so he can spend more time having fun with his kids.

Table of contents 

Cutting code: At the codeface
Chapter 1: On the defensive
Chapter 2: The best laid plans
Chapter 3: What's in a name?
Chapter 4: The write stuff
Chapter 5: A passing comment
Chapter 6: To err is human

Cutting code: The secret life of code
Chapter 7: The programmer's toolbox
Chapter 8: Testing times
Chapter 9: Finding fault
Chapter 10: The code that Jack built
Chapter 11: The need for speed
Chapter 12: An insecurity complex

Cutting code: The shape of things to come
Chapter 13: Grand designs
Chapter 14: Software architecture
Chapter 15: Software evolution

Life in the software factory: A herd of programmers
Chapter 16: Code monkeys
Chapter 17: Together we stand
Chapter 18: Practising safe source

Life in the software factory: Part of the process
Chapter 19: Being specific
Chapter 20: A review to a kill
Chapter 21: How long is a piece of string?

Life in the software factory: From the top
Chapter 22: Recipe for a program
Chapter 23: The outer limits


"Covers the topics needed to teach developers how to make better software in a more effective manner than may be happening in many organizations today . . . If you are a developer or manage a group of developers, this book will teach you the softer skills to complement the technical skills you have already mastered . . . it is these softer skills that often make all the difference between career success and remaining 'one of the code jockeys'."
State of (Read More)

"A brilliant software engineering book . . . If a fresh developer asks you to recommend one book, Code Craft is a perfect candidate."
IEEE Software Magazine

"In Code Craft, Pete Goodliffe has created something unlike any other programming book I have encountered - a concise "brain dump" of an experienced programmer. The sort of book you wish you'd had when you started your first programming job, in the absence of a mentor with the patience of a saint."
I.T. Wales (Read More)

Code Craft is "one of the most fun books on the practice of coding I've read in a long time... packed with practical advice." (Read more)

"There's a lot to recommend [Code Craft]. The writing is good, and the
advice is spot on."
RegDeveloper, January 30, 2008 (Read more)

"It's always a treat to buzz over to No Starch and see the latest goodies for geeks. If you visit now, you'll find Pete Goodliffe's brand-new book."
Linux Journal

"A terrific resource for developers wanting to learn or teach good coding practices . . . deserves a place on the bookshelf. (And you should read it, not just have it on your shelf.)"
Frazzled Dad blog (Read more)

"A 'must read' for any programmer who wants to be a better programmer . . . If you take your programming seriously and are always searching for ways to improve your skills, rob your piggy bank and buy this book."
Linux Tutorial (Read more)

"Pete is one of the ACCU's most consistent and consistently excellent writers."
Word Aligned blog (Read more)

"The mastery of a craft takes more than just tricks and tools; it also takes attitude and skill. For programmers that care, this is what they will get from Code Craft. With the able assistance of a large number of monkeys, this book invites readers to reflect and reason about what they are doing.”
Kevlin Henney, independent consultant

"Readable, engaging, and even funny . . . this book is the distilled wisdom gained from years of actually working, suffering and triumphing in the world of software development . . . It's the book I wish I'd had when I started work as a programmer."
Steve Love, Senior Developer

"Code Craft is a goldmine of information that every professional software developer should be aware of."
Tim Penhey, C Vu Editor

"Good judgment comes from experience. And experience -- well, you get that from exercising bad judgment! Here is a chance to learn from someone else's hard-earned experience, more gain for less pain."
Lois Goldthwaite, Convener of C++ and Posix BSI standards panels

"This is exactly the kind of book you should give raw recruits. It tells it like it is, it's easy to read, and it covers the broad range of topics a newbie programmer needs to be aware of."
Jon Jagger, Software Trainer-Designer-Consultant-Mentor-Programmer

"A unique and practical guide to being a professional programmer in the modern workplace."
Andrew Burrows, Software Developer

"Pete has a rare ability. Not only can he identify techniques that the best professional software developers employ (often without realising it), but he can also describe these in a clear and concise manner."
Greg Law, CEO, Undo Ltd.

"I really wish that this book had been available at the start of my career, when I was being mentored. At least now I can use it with the programmers I'm mentoring."
Dr. Andrew Bennett, Senior Engineer, BEng, PhD, MIET, MIEEE

"Those of you who have been fortunate enough to have seen Pete Goodliffe lecturing on a subject will immediately recognise the way he can bring a subject over with humour and clarity. In a teaching environment, this translates into directed, structured instruction that allows both the newbie and the experienced practitioner to learn and progress."
Robert D. Schofield, M.Sc., MIET Founder, Scientific Software Services Ltd.

"Pete has a desire that code is not just written, but written well, with programmers using the right tools and techniques for the job. Code Craft explores a wide range of aspects of programming, and provides guidelines and principles that any developer who cares about their work should be familiar with."
Chris Reed, Software Developer

"Pete Goodliffe's dedication to promote professionalism in software development is well known within the industry. Drawing on his authoritative knowledge, and blessed with an entertaining and informative writing style, Pete is an excellent mentor to novice and experienced developers alike."
Rob Voisey, Director of Engineering, Akai Digital Ltd.