Article

The Clean Coder book review

February 2nd, 2014

This book describes the career-long insights of Robert C. Martin (Uncle Bob), on what it means to be a “professional programmer”. He digs into his own past to display it -warts and all- so that we may learn from it. It’s not an autobiography or anything, but a self-proclaimed code of conduct with some specific examples on why the author holds certains views.

Readability:

While I usually don’t really like the this-is-how-it’s-done approach, I must say that many points in the book struck a chord in me. Some points I see clearly, either because I do thinks similarly or because I’m trying to get there. Other points are more of a revelation - an opening to other solutions to things I’ve been struggling with for years. It’s very well written with clear subjects, you should be able to finish this book in a few days.

Lessons learned:

  • You need to practice if you want to be a professional. Quoted from the book “…programmers in general did not practice. Frankly, the thought never occured to us…”. I must say, with a 13 year career behind me and three years after this book was written, the thought had never occured to me either. Ofcorse I write stuff, sometimes just to play with a new technology. But never have I written a line of code purely for practicing my skills. And that, in hindsight, is just plain wrong.
  • Time management has always been a weak point for me, I can check the box on many of the pitfalls described in the book. Avoidance, priority inversion, invalid definition of “done”… seeing them described so plainly might help recognizing and avoiding the situations as they occur.
  • Very unexpectedly, Robert C. Martin tells us to avoid the zone! And after reading the chapter, I think he’s right.. While I enjoy my “zone time” a lot (too much), when I am in it I usually neglect more important tasks; fail to get home in time for dinner with my wife and children and stay up way to late. It’s a kind of selfishness, an inability to make the cost vs. benefit analisys that should be 110% clear.

Conclusion:

This book scores a solid must read. Any developer -especially the hotshots who only focus on code when they think of their jobs- should read this book. Twice.

Ramon de la Fuente

Pointy haired boss