Finished Reading Clean Code

20 December, 2009 § 2 Comments

Today I finished reading Clean Code by Robert Martin aka Uncle Bob. I found out about the book from some coworkers during our weekly programming-discussion meetings. The book claims to leave its readers understanding:

  • How to tell the difference between good and bad code
  • How to write good code and how to transform bad code into good code
  • How to create good names, good functions, good objects, and good classes
  • How to format code for maximum readability
  • How to implement complete error handling without obscuring code logic
  • How to unit test and practice test-driven development

Part 1: Principles, Practices, and Patterns

I really liked part one of the book. The principles, practices, and patterns are well thought out and provide a style of programming that is,¬†unfortunately, rarely seen. Since reading this part, I’ve been writing smaller functions (about 4-5 lines at max) and have seen a payoff in the amount of reusability and readability. Chapters 1-7 read quickly, are informative, and are really great pieces to read.

Part 2: Case Studies

The pace of the book really drops off after chapter 7, and each subsequent chapter I lost more of that urge to pick up the book and continue reading. The final nail in the coffin that actually put me to sleep once was the Case Studies part (chapters 14-16). The example of the Args module was too large and my internal-brain compiler just couldn’t handle JITting three pages of code at once. I pushed through and read this whole part, but I wouldn’t recommend you doing the same.

Part 3: Code Smells

Part three is one chapter long and focuses on Code Smells. Code Smells are patterns in code that when seen give a bad taste in your mouth. They are implementations that shout that they could have been done better. The longer the code smells, the worse it gets, until finally the abomination that once started out as a faint odor now is the muskiness in the room that scares off developers from maintaining the module. This chapter is important to get familiar with. It might not be too useful to memorize the different smells, but knowing which ones exist is good enough, because you can always come back to this chapter to see how the code can be refactored.

Unit Testing

The last item I wanted to cover was unit testing. While the book mentions unit testing a lot, and devotes a chapter towards it, I don’t feel like developers will walk away from this book with an understanding of unit tests and test-driven development. Any developer looking for further understanding on unit tests should pick up a book that is devoted to the practice, since there is just far too much to cover in one chapter. I would recommend reading Test Driven Development: By Example.

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§ 2 Responses to Finished Reading Clean Code

  • A.J. says:

    Ironically I believe I was flipping through this exact book this weekend at the bookstore. If it was the book, I didn’t get it because I didn’t see enough code samples (if any). The entire flipping took less than a minute so perhaps I didn’t give it enough time. Anyhoo, I saw a good quote in there, something along the lines of “don’t comment bad code, rewrite it”. I fully agree with the quote.

  • msujaws says:

    It probably was this book. There is quite a bit of code in chapters 14-16. Most of the code outside of chapters 14-16 you can visualize in your head though.

    He talks a lot about the practice of writing code and might have some one-liners spread throughout each chapter.

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