Beyond Code Book Details
Title: Beyond Code
Author: Paul Hudson
No. of pages: 181
Format: PDF, EPUB, Mobile, HTML
Introduction Beyond Code Book
If you’ve read my other books, you’ll know my personal motto is this: “Programming is an art. Don’t spend all your time sharpening your pencil when you should be drawing.”
That has served me well in the 20+ years I’ve been programming computers, and I’ve written multiple books on the same principle. This book is different from the others, because it’s all about “sharpening your pencil” – learning the meta-skills around programming that will help you be a better coder.
I hate to repeat myself, so I’ll say this only once: as important all these skills are, getting out there and making things is the best way to improve your programming skills. This book is designed to be a companion alongside your existing programming, not a replacement for it. It will help you do more with what you already know, but at the end of the day opening up your favorite editor and writing fresh code is the best practice you can get.
How this book is structured
Beyond Code will teach you a variety of skills, some “hard” – Unix tools and regular expressions – and some “soft” – how to run a code review or organize a hack day – but all important. I’ve tried to ensure everything is covered from a language- and platform- neutral perspective, so whether you work in Swift, Rails, or Cobol I hope you’ll find the information useful.
You might look at some of the topics covered here and think “why would I need to know that?” And that’s OK – we’re all at different stages in our career, after all. But I’d like to ask you to read this book with an open mind: I chose all of the topics covered here because I know they are useful, not because I just like writing words endlessly.
Taking regular expressions as an example, they are something I learned maybe 15 years ago and are as valuable today as the day I learned them. What’s more, I expect they will still be valuable 10 or more years from now, because they are a truly timeless skill. And the Unix command line? Some of those commands were first created in the 70s and still come installed as standard on every Mac and Linux computer.
If you take an hour or two to follow my instructions in each chapter, you will learn skills that could last you the rest of your coding career. So: have faith that everything is included here with good reason, and prepare to learn new things!
Before we begin…
This book is explicitly not about code, but it does teach useful tools and you will need to install them first.
The Unix command line
If you’re on macOS, the built-in Terminal app is what most people use, but iTerm is also popular.
If you’re using Linux, GNOME Terminal and Konsole are both good choices, but even xterm is fine.
You don’t have a terminal built in. If you want to follow the Unix tutorials here, you should install Cygwin from https://www.cygwin.com. Regular expressions There are useful tools available for macOS, Windows, and Linux that help you craft regular expressions, and most modern text editors let you work with them for search and replace.
However, these tools vary wildly across platforms, so to ensure everyone can follow along regardless of their operating system we’ll be using https://regex101.com – a site that lets you create and test regular expressions, and gives you useful feedback. Git source control This comes built into many systems, often when you install development tools. To check whether you have Git installed, just open a command line window, type git –version, then press return. If the command isn’t found, you should install it now. If you get back a version number below 2.7, you should install something newer.