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Book review: “Becoming a better programmer” by Pete Goodliffe

Well, as I try always to mention it is good to have some blog posts which are not about coding itself. So today I’m going to write a little review about the book “Becoming a better programmer” by Pete Goodliffe.  You could think “This is the same: telling us about a book about coding.” but this is not the case.

Today on the train home I’ve read some chapters of this book as one full-stack developer friend of mine asked what I’m reading. After I mentioned the book’s title he told me “Whoa, after Bob Martin’s ‘Clean Code’ I do not like books which tell me how to improve my programming.” I can understand this because every piece of code is your own little puppy (or even sanctuary) and you do not want to touch it afterwards.

This book is not about this.

This book gives you advices how to manage the code in your project, how to separate your changes ready for commit to get a clearer history. It also gives you hints how to handle QA people and why they are not your enemy (or well, they are, because they show you how many failures you can implement in a day or with a “quick fix”).

It gives you the advice to commit your code in little, atomic pieces (it has to be atomic if you do not want to break the build) — and make separate commits on design and logic changes. The same friend as above told me “Yeah, you cannot separate design changes from changes on the business logic.” Than I remembered, that he is a full-stack JavaScript developer. Nothing about JS but I think layout changes can be separated from business logic — so take care of this.

This book does not tell you how to write each line of code but it tells you how to work on code in a collaborative, 21st century style because it was written for experienced developers who want to advance and move from a moderate / good programmer to the rockstar level. You can take the advices go ahead and make your life easier and you can come near the rockstar-programmer-heaven. Naturally you need to write good code beside this 😉

I have to admit that since I’ve read this book I always use a VCS (version control system) for each of my coding. My choice is git as the VCS of the 21st century. And if you think that with this every one can see your code on GitHub: there is a solution. In this case there are more solutions: 1) buy private repositories at GitHub. $7/month is not a big price for 5 private repos. And if you think it is time to share your code with the people you can cancel your plan. 2) Sign up at Bitbucket.org. Here you can create private repositories and work on them for free. In my case I prefer this version (and maintaining two accounts) because it is free — but I like GitHub too because it has a broader user group. These were my two solutions but I guess there are more outside.

And you can grab yourself a book here for example. I do not get any money for referring this — but if you prefer you can buy yourself a copy at Amazon. I bought it on a July sale for 50% off the price 😉 And at the end of July it was the raw and unedited version with some typos which should be corrected by now. And I think a paperback should be come out around October…

I suggest you to read this book. However I think $34 is too much for an e-book. My global opinion is that e-books should cost less than print versions. I understand that writers need money after their work but I think more people would buy those books if they’d cost less. I’d do it more often if the prices were cheaper.


Senior developer, consultant, author, mentor, apprentice. I love to share my knowledge and insights what I achieve through my daily work which is not trivial -- at least not for me.

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