Lopes’ book acknowledged as best programming book of the decade

August 6, 2015

Informatics Professor Crista Lopes’ book, Exercises in Programming Style, has been named best programming book of the decade in a Software Development (SD) Times review. A compilation of 33 different styles for writing programs and designing systems, the book, released last summer, can be used in conjunction with a GitHub-hosted repository of code. In the review, SD Times columnist Larry O’Brien calls the book “the best programming book to come along in many years.”

As previously reported by the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences, Lopes wrote her book as a response to a recurring programming student problem. While students could write code that worked, they often had no idea how to structure it, leaving their work difficult to decipher and vulnerable to bugs. Lopes’ book resolves this issue through a series of constraints: It takes a simple computational task and demonstrates 33 different ways to possibly structure it. “Every programmer will find some styles that trigger a happy recognition and others that cause an intriguing confusion. Every chapter is a delight,” O’Brien writes.

“I made an effort to write a book that is both informative and fun,” Lopes says in response to the review. “It’s very rewarding to see that people are getting my message!”

At the review’s end, O’Brien commends the book further: “I honestly cannot think of a more enlightening and more valuable text that’s been published since the turn of the century,” he wrote. “The hardest part about reviewing it is coming up with a way to say ‘Every developer should read this book’ in a way that doesn’t come across as clichéd and rote. Seriously. Every developer should read this book.”