Expertise

Readable code: List of useful books for developers

By PlaysDev
Published: Jul 11, 2024

Reading books has become a thing of the past – now, if you want to learn or study something new, it will be more convenient to listen to a podcast or watch an educational video. However, since you are here, you understand that there is something especially useful and attractive about books and articles.

Of course, coding does not require reading books, however, if you are studying in technical fields, you will definitely encounter educational literature – why not try studying something other than university publications!

Is it possible to learn programming from books? And if so, are there any worthy examples? Our short review will be able to answer these questions.

Why is reading books about programming useful, even if there are vast and easily accessible resources on the Internet?

  • Most programming courses are a beautiful cover with a minimum of useful information, which is publicly available and, often, taken from those very books. If you’re looking to save money on expensive courses, or you’re having a hard time understanding what exactly a course offers, simply search for learning materials on the topic that interests you. You can study the structure of the book for free and see if you will be interested in studying it.
  • Here we can add that most articles and books are an authoritative resource that has passed editorial review.
  • Books allow you to delve deeper into a topic, exploring aspects and details that may be missed in short online articles and tutorials. Undoubtedly, watching a 20-minute video is much faster and more convenient, but in order to understand the whole picture, it is better to study the original source.
  • An undeniable advantage of reading a book or article (pdf) is the absence of distracting advertising.
  • Books can be read offline, which is useful if there is no access to the Internet.
  • More often than not, books provide greater historical context and describe the evolution of technology, which helps explain why certain programming techniques or approaches exist in the first place.
  • Books provide in-depth study of specific topics, such as algorithms, system architecture, or specific programming languages, which may be lacking in online resources.
  • Book authors often share their personal recommendations and best practices based on years of experience. And in some cases, books contain exclusive materials: unique code examples or interviews with famous developers.

I don’t like reading books in print, what should I do?

There are many disadvantages of reading books in print, especially for people in the technical field: the bulkiness of the books, the time spent searching for the necessary information, and the limited interactive code examples. What alternative readings are there?

  • On the platforms of well-known publications (O’Reilly Online Learning, Amazon Kindle Store);
  • You can often find books on GitHub that have been made publicly available by their authors. They are usually available in PDF or Markdown format.

In order for books to be useful to you, you need a) a desire to learn, b) understandable and useful material, c) applying what you read in practice. Try to use these three elements together to succeed.

What books will be useful for developers? Let’s look at the basic guides for Junior, Middle and Senior specialists.

If you haven’t decided what you want to become or what language to learn next, go to the article 10 most popular programming languages ​​in 2024, where we talk about market trends and compare languages ​​by demand, community activity, availability and quality of libraries and frameworks.

Python

Learning Python, 4th EditionMark Lutz

For whom? Junior

When was it published? 2020

Learning Python 4th Edition is a great book for beginners, covering the basics of Python with practical examples. You can read about the basic concepts of Python: data types, operators, data structures, functions and modules. Also, much attention is paid to OOP (object-oriented programming) and working with files.

At the end of each chapter there are quiz questions with answers so you can test and consolidate your knowledge, and at the end of each part there are exercises, the solutions to which you will find in Appendix B. The book is supplemented with notes about the most significant updates and extensions introduced in the Python version 3.1.

Fluent Python Luciano Ramalho

For whom? Middle

What year? 2021

The book is aimed at programmers who already have experience working with other languages. Want to learn how to use functions as first-class objects or how decorators can improve your code? Here you will find the answers. The publication covers the latest changes in Python 3.9 and 3.10. If you are interested in writing more productive and better code, then this book is for you. From the described methods you will learn: decorators, context managers, abstract base classes and much more.

Best Books about Code: How to Write Clear and Maintainable Code?

JavaScript

Eloquent JavaScript, 3rd Edition — Luciano Ramalho

For whom? Junior

What year? 2021

An ideal introduction to JavaScript, covering both basic and advanced concepts such as functions, objects, asynchronous programming, and working with the DOM. Marijn Haverbeke’s book is unique in its structure, aimed at practical learning through step-by-step projects (creating the game “Life” or drawing fractals).

Marein Haverbeke is an experienced practitioner. You’ll start by learning about the language’s structure, control constructs, functions, and data structures. Then you will move on to error handling and debugging, master modularity and asynchronous programming. In conclusion, you will start programming browsers, applying all the acquired knowledge in practice. A special feature of the book is a deep dive into functional and asynchronous programming using promises and async/await.

JavaScript: The Definitive Guide, 7th Edition David Flanagan

For whom? Middle

What year? 2021

An in-depth tutorial covering all aspects of JavaScript. This book is the most comprehensive reference on JavaScript and its ecosystem. It covers everything from basic constructs to advanced topics such as asynchronous programming, working with web APIs, and web application development. The book includes numerous code examples and explanations, making it useful for both beginners and experienced developers. It is noteworthy that it has more than 1000 pages filled with code examples and explanations. Of course, such a treatise will be more convenient to study in electronic format.

You Don’t Know JS Yet: Get Started (book series) — Kyle Simpson

For whom? Senior

What year? 2020

“You Don’t Know JS Yet: Get Started” (2nd Edition) is an updated version of the popular JavaScript book series. It is written for experienced developers looking to improve their knowledge and skills. All 6 books are brand new, rewritten to cover all aspects of JS for 2020 and beyond.

Kyle Simpson is known for his deep understanding of JavaScript and his ability to explain complex concepts in simple terms. His books help developers at the Senior level and above not only improve their skills, but also enjoy programming in JavaScript.

Let’s look specifically at the 2d edition. It provides a detailed explanation of JavaScript fundamentals, including data types, scopes, closures, and objects. Also, special attention is paid to asynchronous programming, modern approaches to modularity (including ES6 modules), and dependency management. Kyle shows various techniques for optimizing code performance and highlights such non-trivial concepts as metaprogramming, working with proxies and reflection.

The book not only teaches you how to write code, but also explains why and how JavaScript works. At least for this reason you should give it a go.

Best Books about Code: How to Write Clear and Maintainable Code?

Java

Java: A Beginner’s Guide, 9th Edition Herbert Schildt

For whom? Junior

What year? 2023

An interactive and fun introduction to Java for beginners. It offers a step-by-step introduction to the language, from the basics to more advanced topics such as file manipulation, multithreading, and network programming. In the book you will find many visual illustrations, which makes it more accessible to study. A special feature of the book is its focus on preparing for real projects and tasks.

Effective Java Joshua Bloch

For whom? Middle

What year? 2018

An indispensable guide for middle managers, full of practical tips for improving Java code. There are tips on API design, working with collections, exception handling and multithreading. A special feature of the book is its emphasis on “clean code” and performance optimization.

Best Books about Code: How to Write Clear and Maintainable Code?

C#

C# 8.0 and .NET Core 3.0. Mark J. Price

For whom? Junior

What year? 2022

A comprehensive guide to C# and .NET Core for building cross-platform apps. The book focuses on real-life projects, such as creating web applications and APIs. Also, the authors have supplemented the publication with the latest features of C# 8.0 – asynchronous threads and ranges.

C# for Professionals — Troy D. Wiggly

For whom? Senior

What year? 2020

A book known for its detailed and advanced analysis of the C# language. Rather, it is intended for experienced developers who want to deepen their knowledge in. Topics covered include advanced OOP concepts, multithreading, networking, and performance optimization. The book contains many examples and tips for writing effective code.

Best Books about Code: How to Write Clear and Maintainable Code?

Web Development

HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites John Duckett

For whom? Junior

What year? 2020

This book offers an introduction to web development using HTML and CSS, with an emphasis on creating responsive design. A notable feature is its visual approach: the book is filled with illustrations and color code examples. Its accessibility and ease of presentation make it an excellent resource for beginning web developers.

Microservices: Up and Running Mitra Ronnie

For whom? Senior

What year? 2023

In-depth study of the design and implementation of complex web applications and systems. This book examines approaches to designing, developing, and implementing microservice architectures. The author discusses monolith decomposition, configuration management, orchestration, and microservice monitoring. The book is useful for developers and architects seeking to master modern approaches to creating scalable systems.

Best Books about Code: How to Write Clear and Maintainable Code?

DevOps

DevOps Handbook Gene Kim, Jez Humble, Patrick Dubois, John Willis

For whom? Middle

What year? 2016

Read about the basic principles and practices of DevOps – automation, continuous integration and delivery. The book has a structured approach and does have a lot of real-life cases. What makes the book special is its emphasis on continuous improvement methodology and advice on implementing DevOps tools in an organization.

Accelerate Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble, Jin Kim

For whom? Senior

What year? 2022

The book is only available in English. She provides evidence-based methods and practices for building and scaling high-performing technology organizations. The book’s material is based on data and research, supported by real-life examples. What makes the book special is its emphasis on measuring software performance and quality, making it indispensable for managers and team leaders.

Making Work Visible Dominica DeGrandis

For whom? Any

What year? 2022

Dominica is a leading Kanban practitioner in the IT industry. Her book offers techniques for visualizing work processes and managing tasks. The book examines popular IT team management tools – Kanban boards and flow maps. What makes the book special is its emphasis on identifying time wasters and optimizing processes, making it useful for managers looking to improve their team’s performance.

Best Books about Code: How to Write Clear and Maintainable Code?

Also, you can read about the evolution of development and project management methods. For example, how does Agile differ from Waterfall and what is the DevOps philosophy?

Machine Learning

Python Crash Course Eric Mathiz

For whom? Junior

What year? 2019

The book is ideal for beginners who want to learn Python through hands-on projects. What is the project approach? You’ll create games, data visualizations, and web applications to help you better understand and apply the concepts you learn.

Deep Learning with Python  Francois Chollet

For whom? Middle

What year? 2019

In short, this is a guide for intermediate developers that focuses on the practical application of ML. An introduction to deep learning occurs through the use of the Keras library in Python. You will learn to create and train neural networks to solve real-life problems. If you are interested in AI and ML development, we recommend taking a look.

Deep Learning Ian Goodfellow, Yoshua Bengio, Aaron Courville

For whom? Anyone

What year? 2016

This book is the definitive work on deep learning, written by leading experts in the field. It covers theoretical and practical aspects of deep learning, such as neural network architectures, learning algorithms, and applications. The book will be useful for students, researchers and developers who are really interested in the topic.

What makes the book special is its academic approach and inclusion of the latest research in the field. In other words, the book is full of data about real-life deep learning practices.

Best Books about Code: How to Write Clear and Maintainable Code?

“Written by three experts in the field, Deep Learning is the only comprehensive book on the topic.” — Elon Musk, co-chairman of OpenAI; co-founder and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX.

Tips for Managers: what to read about code to better understand developers

The Human Factor: Successful Projects and Teams — Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister

A book about people, teams and how to manage development projects. She focuses on human factors and how they influence development efficiency. This book is widely known and popular among IT professionals and project managers for its unique approach to team and project management.

The Mythical Man-Month, or How Software Systems Are Made — Frederick P. Brooks, Jr.

This classic engineering book explains many aspects of project management and teamwork. There is a lot of thinking here about software development and the challenges associated with increasing teams and development timelines.

Understanding the 10x Developer — Jonathan Solórzano-Hamilton

This article helps you understand what makes some developers more productive and how managers can keep their teams productive.

“Understanding the 10x Developer” by Jonathan Solorzano-Hamilton, published on the freeCodeCamp platform, is an essay and not a full book.

She discusses the myth of the so-called “10x developer” – a programmer who can supposedly be ten times more productive than his peers. What does it really mean to be a productive developer? The author emphasizes the importance of communication, collaboration and other soft skills, along with technical knowledge.

What Makes a Good Software Engineer? — Google Research (Google AI Blog)

Google research on what qualities make successful developers. Useful for managers to better understand how to support and develop teams.

How to Read Code — Bill Sourour (Dev.to)

An article that explains how to learn to read code. It is mainly aimed at developers who want to improve their skills in reading and understanding code, as well as learn how to effectively work with other people’s code or large code bases. But the article may also be useful for managers who want to better understand what their teams are doing.

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