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Seven Languages in Seven Weeks: A Pragmatic Guide to Learning Programming Languages (Pragmatic Programmers) [Paperback]

Bruce A. Tate
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

20 Nov 2010 193435659X 978-1934356593 1

You should learn a programming language every year, as recommended by The Pragmatic Programmer. But if one per year is good, how about Seven Languages in Seven Weeks? In this book you'll get a hands-on tour of Clojure, Haskell, Io, Prolog, Scala, Erlang, and Ruby. Whether or not your favorite language is on that list, you'll broaden your perspective of programming by examining these languages side-by-side. You'll learn something new from each, and best of all, you'll learn how to learn a language quickly.

Ruby, Io, Prolog, Scala, Erlang, Clojure, Haskell. With Seven Languages in Seven Weeks, by Bruce A. Tate, you'll go beyond the syntax-and beyond the 20-minute tutorial you'll find someplace online. This book has an audacious goal: to present a meaningful exploration of seven languages within a single book. Rather than serve as a complete reference or installation guide, Seven Languages hits what's essential and unique about each language. Moreover, this approach will help teach you how to grok new languages.

For each language, you'll solve a nontrivial problem, using techniques that show off the language's most important features. As the book proceeds, you'll discover the strengths and weaknesses of the languages, while dissecting the process of learning languages quickly--for example, finding the typing and programming models, decision structures, and how you interact with them.

Among this group of seven, you'll explore the most critical programming models of our time. Learn the dynamic typing that makes Ruby, Python, and Perl so flexible and compelling. Understand the underlying prototype system that's at the heart of JavaScript. See how pattern matching in Prolog shaped the development of Scala and Erlang. Discover how pure functional programming in Haskell is different from the Lisp family of languages, including Clojure.

Explore the concurrency techniques that are quickly becoming the backbone of a new generation of Internet applications. Find out how to use Erlang's let-it-crash philosophy for building fault-tolerant systems. Understand the actor model that drives concurrency design in Io and Scala. Learn how Clojure uses versioning to solve some of the most difficult concurrency problems.

It's all here, all in one place. Use the concepts from one language to find creative solutions in another-or discover a language that may become one of your favorites.

Frequently Bought Together

Seven Languages in Seven Weeks: A Pragmatic Guide to Learning Programming Languages (Pragmatic Programmers) + Seven Databases in Seven Weeks: A Guide to Modern Databases and the NoSQL Movement + Pragmatic Thinking and Learning: Refactor Your Wetware (Pragmatic Programmers)
Price For All Three: £60.38

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Product details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Pragmatic Bookshelf; 1 edition (20 Nov 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193435659X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934356593
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 18.3 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 46,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


""I have been programming for 25 years in a variety of hardware and software languages. After reading Seven Languages in Seven Weeks, I am starting to understand how to evaluate languages for their objective strengths and weaknesses. More importantly, I feel as if I could pick one of them to actually get some work done.""--Chris Kappler, Senior scientist Raytheon, BBN Technologies""I spent most of my time as a computer sciences student saying I didn't want to be a software developer and then became one anyway. Seven Languages in Seven Weeks expanded my way of thinking about problems and reminded me what I love about programming.""--Travis Kaspar, Software engineer, Northrop Grumman""Do you want seven kick starts into learning your "language of the year"? Do you want your thinking challenged about programming in general? Look no further than this book. I personally was taken back in time to my undergraduate computer science days, coasting through my programming languages survey course. The difference is that Bruce won't let you coast through this course! This isn't a leisurely read--you'll have to work this book. I believe you'll find it both mindblowing and intensely practical at the same time.""--Matt Stine Group leader, Research Application Development, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

About the Author

Bruce Tate runs RapidRed, an Austin, TX-based practice that consults on lightweight development in Ruby. Previously he worked at IBM in roles ranging from a database systems programmer to Java consultant. He left IBM to work for several startups in roles ranging from Client Solutions Director to CTO. He speaks internationally and is the author of more than ten books, including From Java to Ruby, Deploying Rails Applications, the best-selling Bitter series, Beyond Java, and the Jolt-winning Better, Faster, Lighter Java.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
65 of 65 people found the following review helpful
Okay, I've given this 5 stars which is high praise but needs some qualification: probably best just to say what this book is NOT, first, and then what it IS and why it succeeds so well.

Firstly, I would take the "Seven weeks" with a pinch of salt: this isn't really a "learn Mython in 21 days" type book - with little lessons that lead at the end to being able to program in Mython. If you want to learn, say, Haskell, there are better books for that available from this very web site. And therefore you certainly won't be an expert in SEVEN languages when you've worked through this book either (i deliberately say "work through" as this is a very hands-on book).

So without out the way, I'll say what the book is and why i love it so much.
This is a book that is good if you want to more than dip your toes into a language - as Mr Tate says "I won't make you an expert, but I'll teach you more than 'Hello World' ". The amount of effort put into this tome seems phenomenal: ("This is the most demanding book I have ever written."). Not satisfied with teaching you loads about the languages (and some of these were not the author's area of expertise, he had to learn the languages himself!) he somehow found time to look into the history of the languages (an interesting subject in itself) and ALSO interview many of the key people involved in creating the languages!. The "why did you make this language" interviews are fascinating reading.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiration for any developer 28 Jun 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In this book, Bruce gives the reader a grand tour of several very different programming paradigms, ranging from dynamic and prototyped languages to logic based, minimalistic, functional and other exotic paradigms. As a reader you get a glimpse of what programming is like in other "worlds", and you will get inspired to try out new languages, or perhaps to adapt exciting new features into you own language of choice. I would recommend any developer who has spend some years in the same programming language to read this book, if nothing else just for sheer inspiration.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoying To Say The Least 21 April 2012
By llib
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
That's one of the books that I fell in love with. A tour de force on various programming paradigms. After that you'll be expert in none of the languages/paradigms presented (most possibly you won't even remember the specifics of most of them) but you'll feel MUCH richer as a professional and as a human.

Writter is speaking like a good friend you got out with for a coffee and that's the feeling of the whole book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book greatly. I was a (poor) programmer long ago (Algol, the Fortrans, Basic, APL (remember - the "write-only" language?), Pascal and one running COBOL program!, and this book brought me upto date with current paradigms - though as B A Tate remarks, the paradigms change very slowly and I was only a generation and a half or so out of date. I so liked the book I've loaded Haskell on one of my machines and have bought Miran Lipovaca 's remarkable Learn You a Haskell for Great Good.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another classic PP book 13 April 2011
Very inspiring read again from the Pragmatic Programmers.
I had looked into a couple of the presented languages before, but the introduction in this book gave me quite a new view of them. Very valuable summary of when, where and how to use the languages.
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