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About the extracts

The Pragmatic Programmer is written as 46 small sections, each section ranging from two to ten pages long. Associated with most sections are a small set of exercises (with answers) and possibly one or two challenges—more general problems with no particular right or wrong answer. Sprinkled through these sections there are 70 tips: one-line statements of best practice that we try to live by daily.

Addison Wesley has kindly allowed us to reproduce here some sections from the book, along with the table of contents and a complete, annotated list of tips (this list is also available as a pull-out card in the back of the book).

The sections we’ve included here are:

  • The preface, just to give you an idea of what we’re trying to do in the book.
  • What triggers the decay of perfectly good software? We discuss what we believe is the major cause in Software Entropy.
  • Are your programs relying on luck to work? Sometimes you might be surprised. Read about programming deliberately and Programming by Coincidence.
  • In Evil Wizards, we discuss the problems inherent in relying on the code produced by wizards (such as those found in most moderns IDEs).
  • In a world of increasingly complex code, resource management is crucial. Yet still our programs leak memory, leave files open, and generally fail to tidy up after themselves. Balance Resources looks at some simple techniques which will make our programs better citizens.