Book Review: The Art of Readable Code

Lately I have been very involved with code quality, not just in terms of testing and actually working, but also on a deeper level, readability and plain good architecture. At my previous employer we had been working for a good while already applying rules from “Object Calisthenics” a concept by Jeff Bay, a simple set of exercises that helped identify bad code and improvements points. Once I saw this book show up at O’Reilly I did not blink and made a purchase.

“The Art of Readable Code” was written by Dustin Bowell and Trevor Foucher and basically focuses on concepts and suggestions to make you code not just readable, but comprehendible by other developers, or as the author’s suggest, yourself in six months. Code readability is a topic that I truly believe the PHP community does not focus enough on and i really wanted a look at this book to see what kind of ideas it had and what I could do my best to bring to the attention of other developers.

The book does not focus on any one language and has examples from PHP, Python, Java, Javascript, C and C++, which is great. But the concepts are presented in a very verbose and conversational form so that the pieces of code really play a small part and it does not matter if you do or do not know any of these languages, any developer should be able to pick it up. The book goes from variable naming, to commenting, to refactoring and even into transforming ideas into code and testing, it really does a great job of describing various developer downfalls. I even picked up a few tips and added them to my talks about refactoring and writing better code, its will surely be on the recommendation page at the end.

After reading this book you will look at you code a little different, I can assure you. I agree with most of what’s on the book (except part of the test chapter) and i really believe more developers should see these points and work on them. So if you write code, pick up this book, its a very light read and very pleasant one as well. It kept me good company on the trams to and from work, and even walking, that’s how easy going it is. So go get it, read it, learn from it and make your code better.

The Art of Readable Code
Simple and Practical Techniques for Writing Better Code
By Dustin Boswell, Trevor Foucher
Publisher: O’Reilly Media
Released: November 2011
Pages: 204
Print ISBN:978-0-596-80229-5 | ISBN 10:0-596-80229-3
Ebook ISBN:978-1-4493-1417-0 | ISBN 10:1-4493-1417-1
Buy it on Amazon