97 Things Every Programmer Should Know

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# [[Hard work does not pay off]] by [[Olve Maudal]]
# [[Hard work does not pay off]] by [[Olve Maudal]]
# [[Ruthless Refactoring]] by [[User:Michael Hunger|Michael Hunger]]
# [[Ruthless Refactoring]] by [[User:Michael Hunger|Michael Hunger]]
# [[Method Scopes]] by [[User:Michael Hunger|Michael Hunger]]
=== In Progress ===
=== In Progress ===

Revision as of 03:13, 27 January 2009

Create an account by clicking here. You don't need an email invitation to create an account.


Welcome to the home page for developing the initial phase of 97 Things Every Programmer Should Know.

97 Things Every Programmer Should Know is intended to be a book of wisdom for programmers collected from leading practitioners. There is no overarching narrative: it is intended simply to contain multiple and varied perspectives on what it is that you feel programmers should know. This can be anything from code-focused advice to culture, from algorithm usage to agile thinking, from implementation know-how to professionalism, from style to substance, etc.

When we have a suitable number of complete and high-quality contributions we'll move to the next phase of the project, where we open up the existing items to the public for comment and further contributions. We eventually hope to move to the final phase of the project, publishing a book with the 97 best contributions.

Thank you for taking the time and making the effort to contribute.

Kevlin Henney


What Will Come of All This?

This current site is for the initial phase of the project. In the next phase of the project, once there are a reasonable number of completed high-quality entries, O'Reilly will publish the contents of this wiki in a public and free web site off the O'Reilly properties. It will be embodied in a framework that is a wiki (or wiki-like). It will be free for anyone to access but you'll have to register to contribute or comment or vote. Users (that's everyone who is registered) will be able to comment on other peoples contributions, rate other people's contributions, tag contributions, and create, edit, and improve their own contributions. Anyone and everyone be able to view the material without requiring registration. The web site will be strongly promoted by O'Reilly and all contributors will get full attribution.

If this 97 Things project proves popular at this stage, O'Reilly will consider taking the next step, which is to publish a 97 Things Every Programmer Should Know book. If a book is to be published, the best contributions will be selected and edited by me and an editor from O'Reilly (Michael Loukides). The book will sell in book stores and on-line. It will be listed as edited by Kevlin Henney. If your contribution is chosen, any recommended edits recommended will be contributed back to the 97 Things project for everyone to enjoy. Every contributor whose contribution goes into the book will be fully acknowledged in the book and will get a complementary copy of the book when it is published.

To get a feel for this type of project take a look at another book in the series called 97 Things Every Software Architect Should Know. It's the flagship project for the 97 Things series and will be the first book in the series.

How to Make a Contribution

  • Each contributor is asked to provide one or more items (tips or bits of wisdom) that each have a title and associated discussion. The title should only be a 2 to 10 words long if possible and should summarize or capture the essence of the advice. In print, we want each contribution to fit on a two-page spread. Keep your discussion between 300 and 500 words. Any contribution under 300 words is unlikely to make it to the next phase of the project. And any more than 500 words will need to be edited down.
  • Create an account and author page. To create and edit a page you will need to create an account. You can then contribute your items and provide an author page. For more details on this see How to Get Started.
  • Please read the first contribution. I've added an example contribution in The Contribution section below to provide further guidelines on content style and to show you an example of what you will see when your are ready to add your own tip/axiom/pearl/guideline/contribution. Reading the initial contribution won't take long — it's less than 500 words!

Rules of Engagement

  • Contributors need to have an account and to create an author page. Instructions for doing this can be found here.
  • Minimize work in progress and work suggested but not started. Although it can be useful to put a place holder for an item, such as just its title or a couple of lines of content that are notes, please try to keep this to a minimum. It is more valuable to have submitted a few items that are complete and are of high quality than a long list of suggestions or partial submissions. Reducing work in progress makes it easier for you to see your own progress and for others to see the progress of the whole project. So, ideally, try to have no more than a couple of incomplete items at any one time.
  • Nominate others. Contribution is by invitation only, but you can nominate others for inclusion by contacting me with your suggestions.
  • Editing ethics. You have the ability to add or change your contributions at any time. To be a good participant, please edit your own contributions only. Be very careful that you don't accidentally alter someone else's work. As editor, I will limit my editorial changes to basic copy editing (spelling, punctuation, grammar, and formatting). I will discuss any other suggestions or comments on a contributed item directly with its author.
  • Protect the privacy of our site. Please keep this URL private sharing it only with people you invite personally to contribute. Don't link to it, digg it, put it on your web pages, send it out to a mailing list, etc. First, it's only temporary. This project will not live within O'Reilly commons indefinitely. Second, we'd like to keep this under wraps until we have a decent block of material to release.
  • Free of commercials. Please keep contributions free from references to specific products or technologies that compare their worth, or paint them in a positive or negative light.
  • Legal stuff. All contributions made to this site are required to be made under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. This means that by making a content contribution, you are agreeing that it is licensed to us and to others under this license. If you do not want your content to be available under this license, you should not contribute it.
  • Volunteers only. Contributions are made on a volunteer basis -- in other words, contributors are not paid for their contributions. The contributions will be made easily available to everyone on the World Wide Web for free. However, remember that those of you whose tips are chosen for publication will get your name attached to your work, your bio published next to it, and a free copy of the published book.
  • Submit only your own work. You warrant that all work that you contribute to this site is your original work, except for material that is in the public domain or for which you have obtained permission. Feel free to draw from your own existing work (blogs, articles, talks, etc.), so long as you are happy with the Creative Commons licence.

The Contributions

Please add your contributions in the subsections below, and move them between subsections as you feel fits. For guidance on the mechanics of how to contribute an item, please see How to Get Started. The following is an example contribution you may find useful as a guideline:

  1. (Example) Please Read this Guideline before Making Your Own Contribution by Kevlin Henney


Contributions in this section are effectively complete from the author's point of view. Items placed in this section must meet the word-count requirements (at least 300 words and not wildly over 500 words) and the associated author bio must also be complete. Authors may continue to edit their own items in this section, and items will also be copy-edited, but the idea of completeness is that the items are potentially releasable.

  1. Fulfill Your Ambitions with Open Source by Richard Monson-Haefel
  2. Comment Only What the Code Cannot Say by Kevlin Henney
  3. Restrict Mutability of State by Kevlin Henney
  4. Speed Kills by Uncle Bob
  5. Encapsulate behavior, not just state by Einar Landre
  6. Only the Code tells the Truth by Peter Sommerlad
  7. Interfaces Should Reveal Intention by Einar Landre
  8. The number of inter-process communications affects response time by Randy Stafford
  9. Test for Required Behavior, not Incidental Behavior by Kevlin Henney
  10. Test Precisely and Concretely by Kevlin Henney
  11. Verbose logging will disturb your sleep by Johannes Brodwall
  12. The road to performance is littered with dirty code bombs by Kirk Pepperdine
  13. Keep the build clean by Johannes Brodwall
  14. Use the aggregate design pattern to reduce coupling by Einar Landre
  15. WET dilutes performance bottlenecks by Kirk Pepperdine
  16. Testing is the Engineering Rigor of Software Development by Neal Ford
  17. Make Interfaces Easy to Use Correctly and Hard to Use Incorrectly by Scott Meyers
  18. Don't just learn the language, understand its culture by Anders Norås
  19. Small! by Uncle Bob
  20. Don't nail your program into the upright position by Verity Stob
  21. You gotta care about the code by Pete Goodliffe
  22. Know Your Next Commit by Dan Bergh Johnsson
  23. The Professional Programmer by Uncle Bob
  24. Professionalism and Test-Driven Development by Uncle Bob
  25. Programmers who write tests get more time to program by Johannes Brodwall
  26. The Single Responsibility Principle by Uncle Bob
  27. The longevity of interim solutions by Klaus Marquardt
  28. Prefer definite types to primitive types by Einar Landre
  29. Distinguish Business Exceptions from Technical by Dan Bergh Johnsson
  30. Structure over function by Peter Sommerlad
  31. Don't ignore that error! by Pete Goodliffe
  32. The Boy Scout Rule by Uncle Bob
  33. A Comment on Comments by Cal Evans
  34. Don't touch that code! by Cal Evans
  35. Own (and Refactor) the Build by Steve Berczuk
  36. Deploy Early and Often by Steve Berczuk
  37. Two wrongs can make a right (and are difficult to fix) by Allan Kelly
  38. The Compiler Isn't Broken by Allan Kelly
  39. Understand Principles behind Practices by Steve Berczuk
  40. Acknowledge (and Learn from) Failures by Steve Berczuk
  41. Hard work does not pay off by Olve Maudal
  42. Ruthless Refactoring by Michael Hunger
  43. Method Scopes by Michael Hunger

In Progress

Contributions in this section are partially complete. They do not yet meet the word count requirement, or the author bios are incomplete, or the authors do not currently consider their items complete and potentially releasable.

  1. Fix the Broken Window by Klaus Marquardt
  2. Beware the Share by Udi Dahan
  3. Duplicate to decouple by Klaus Marquardt
  4. Quicksand Base by Klaus Marquardt
  5. Simple is not simplistic by Giovanni Asproni
  6. Use tools frameworks and libraries. Wisely by Giovanni Asproni
  7. Two hours of thinking can save two months of coding by Giovanni Asproni
  8. Know your IDE by Heinz Kabutz
  9. The Linker Is Not a Magical Program by Walter Bright
  10. Hands on in all phases by Klaus Marquardt
  11. Ask 'what would the user do?' (You are not the user.) by Giles Colborne
  12. Prevent errors by Giles Colborne
  13. One binary by Steve Freeman
  14. Code layout matters by Steve Freeman
  15. Implicit dependencies are also dependencies by Klaus Marquardt
  16. Learn reading and judging code, especially your own by Peter Sommerlad
  17. Understand SCM by Steve Berczuk
  18. Floating-point Numbers Aren't Real by Chuck Allison
  19. Missing Opportunities for Polymorphism by Kirk Pepperdine
  20. Code Smell, Collection of Collections by Kirk Pepperdine

Not Started

Contributions in this section only have a couple of sentences of suggestion or are just titles.

  1. Useful software is used longer than ever intended by Peter Sommerlad
  2. Learn foreign languages by Klaus Marquardt
  3. Estimates are not commitments by Giovanni Asproni
  4. Planning for performance is not a premature optimization by Kirk Pepperdine
  5. Measure, don't guess by Kirk Pepperdine
  6. Programming is a team sport by Pete Goodliffe
  7. Get the names right by Steve Freeman
  8. Plenty of domain types by Steve Freeman
  9. Logging is a user interface by Steve Freeman
  10. Reflection: Beauty or Horror? by Heinz Kabutz
  11. Don't reinvent the wheel - Consider Rich Client Platforms by Kai Tödter
  12. Don't handle errors, design them away by Michael Feathers
  13. Protection is a social problem, not a technical problem by Michael Feathers
  14. The Golden Rule of API Design by Michael Feathers
  15. Prefer evidence over faith and fashion by Jon Jagger
  16. Value art as much as science by Jon Jagger
  17. Throwing not considered harmful by Jon Jagger
  18. Start Small, Grow Big by Jørn Ølmheim
  19. Beauty is in Simplicity by Jørn Ølmheim
  20. Objects Want to be Asynchronous by Michael Feathers
  21. There is no Up or Down in Software by Michael Feathers
  22. Create Real Types for Primitives and Collections by Michael Hunger
  23. Domain Specific Languages by Michael Hunger

Suggestion Box

This subsection is not for authored contributions, but for ideas you feel would benefit from being written about. You may not have the time, inclination, or background to write up a topic but still feel that it deserves to be cov ere d. If so, please add a bullet below. And if you are looking for ideas for what to write about, please look at the list below for inspiration!

  • Program to an interface, not an implementation
  • Exception handling
  • Don't put core application logic in the UI code
  • Build tools
  • Postel's Law and/or preconditions and postconditions
  • Type conversions and type compatibility (languages have rules that can both help and hinder)
  • Concurrency
  • Team and collaboration
  • Algorithms and data structures (the importance of choosing the right ones)
  • Hardware basics that can affect program performance (such as caching level and instruction pipelines)
  • Memory usage
  • The principle of least astonishment / law of least surprise
  • Long argument lists
  • Spikes or Tracer Bullets
  • Design Patterns
  • Code Metrics / Visualization
  • Method Scope
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