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Seven Languages in Seven Weeks: A Pragmatic Guide to Learning Programming Languages (Pragmatic Programmers) Paperback – 20 Nov 2010
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""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.
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Top customer reviews
I've been programming for many years, and have also managed developers and teams of developers. But I've mostly programmed in C, C++, and Java (plus managed developers of the same). This book has opened my eyes to what else is available.
On the first reading, I loved Ruby, quite liked Io, hated Prolog, liked Scala, quite liked Erlang, loved Clojure, absolutely hated Haskell. I bought Scala and Erlang books, coded a bit, and read loads of stuff on the web.
On the second reading, I skipped Ruby (too much like good old C/C++/Java, although highly productive), didn't like Io, loved Prolog (amazing how it can solve a Sudoku puzzle on its own, just by telling it the rules), began to go off Scala (high gravitational pull from Java), loved Erlang, liked Clojure, and Haskell started to grow on me.
As an aside - about this time I inherited a team which was working on an app which had been ported to Clojure, followed by the Clojure developers moving on. The remaining developers thought that their career had stalled, and they wanted to get back to the mainstream (Java). We found it almost impossible to hire Clojure developers. Please don't berate me on this - I like Clojure and its ethos, and the story says more about large IT departments than it does about Clojure.
All of this Clojure, Erlang, and Haskell was getting me into functional programming. As a manager I'd been concerned about how we could get best value out of modern multi-core servers, and solve the seemingly intractable problem of how to code multi-threaded software in a reliable and developer-efficient way. Functional programming seemed to give some hope - especially Erlang.
I read several Erlang books, and Joe Armstrong's (one of the designers of Erlang) PhD thesis. I bought and read Bratko's Prolog book, and even "Real World Haskell".
Erlang is my absolute favourite language (and I like its syntax, so no great temptation to move to Elixir). Given its close relationship with Prolog, I need to get more into Prolog too. And Haskell has become a friend. I suspect I may end up being a Haskell developer.
All this has been triggered by "Seven Languages in Seven Weeks". Thank you, Mr. Tate.
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.
I also love Mr Tate's style- it's quite 'light' (but not as light as the "Head First" style)- you don't feel like you're reading a textbook at all, and despite the fact that some of it can get very technical, this book never feels like heavy reading: part of it is due to the fact that he has a tv/movie theme running through each language: for Ruby, the theme is Mary Poppins, and for Erlang it's The Matrix- he uses these themes to highlight the different characters of the languages, and I've never seen it done anywhere else (not to this extent anyway) but it does work, and I found the connections really amusing.
"So it's a pleasant to read, deeply researched book, but what about the languages?", I hear you ask.
Okay, in the 309 jam-packed pages Mr Tate will introduce you to, and see you through a converstion with:
Ruby, Io, Prolog, Scala, Erlang, Clojure, and Haskell.
It's a fairly steep learning curve: this is NOT a "how to program" or "how to install" software book; but it does get you doing some fairly intense stuff fairly quickly - even if you don't do all the examples you come away knowing enough about each language to know if you want to explore it further.
Also, even if like me you're aware of some of the languages (i already knew about Haskell and Prolog) and don't want to read those parts, there's so much about the other languages, that it's still worth the money, but I would say that: it's after using this book I am now in love with Ruby, Clojure and Scala - otherwise I might not have come across those for ages - so of course I am biased: this book quite literally changed my coding life!
So to summarise: if you're interested in programming languages per se, rather than just programming in general, and getting bored with Java/C and want more than a superficial look at some other fascinating languages out there then this is an excellent book to start your coding adventure.
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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Most recent customer reviews
However, this book is one of my favourite ! really neat approach.
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