THE ELEMENTS OF PROGRAMMING STYLE PDF
Kernighan, Brian W. The elements of programming style. Bibliography: p. Includes index. 1. Electronic digital computers-Programming. I. Plauger, P.J., date joint. The Elements of Programming Style. (Lectures on High-performance Computing for Economists VIII). Jesús Fernández-Villaverde,1 Pablo. Programming Style” by Kernighan and Plauger, published by McGraw Hill. from the book: “To paraphrase an observation in The Elements of Style by Strunk .
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This rounds out a collection of works by Kernighan. Each book of his covers a different aspect of software, in clear form with logical concepts. This book covers . This book is out of print. Even though its examples are in the Fortran and PL/1 languages, most of the principles are relevant to any programming language. The Elements of Programming Style, by Brian W. Kernighan and P. J. Plauger, is a study of . Print/export. Create a book · Download as PDF · Printable version.
Page 97 On Bounds-checking Some compilers allow a check during execution that subscripts do not exceed array dimensions.
Page 85 On Bug Infestation Where there are two bugs, there is likely to be a third. Page Floating Point Numbers Are Like Sandpiles Floating point arithmetic adds a new spectrum of errors, all based on the fact that the machine can represent numbers only to a finite precision.
Page On Efficiency Concerns of efficiency must strike a balance with those of overall cost. Machines have become increasingly cheap compared to people; any discussion of computer efficiency that fails to take this into account is shortsighted. A clean design is more easily modified as requirements change or as more is learned about what parts of the code consume significant amounts of execution time. Efficiency does not have to be sacrificed in the interest of writing readable code — rather, writing readable code is often the only way to ensure efficient programs that are also easy to maintain and modify.
To begin, let us state the obvious. Page Algorithmic Improvements versus Tuning How can we really speed it up? Fundamental improvements in performance are most often made by algorithm changes, not by tuning … There are two lessons. First, time spent selecting a good algorithm is certain to pay larger dividends than time spent polishing an implementation of a poor method.
Second, for any given algorithm, polishing is not likely to significantly improve a fundamentally sound, clean implementation. It may even make things worse. Page — On Profiling Profile and measure your code before making performance improvements.
Beware of preconceptions about where a program spends its time. This avoids the error of looking in the wrong place for improvements. Of course, you have to have some working idea of which part of a program has the most effect on overall speed, but changes designed to improve efficiency should be based on solid measurement, not intuition. A useful and cheap way to measure how a program spends its time is to count how many times each statement is executed.
Knuth in an article in Software Practice and Experience, April, The only reliable documentation of a computer program is the code itself. The reason is simple — whenever there are multiple representations of a program, the chance for discrepancy exists. If the code is in error, artistic flowcharts and detailed comments are to no avail.
Only by reading the code can the programmer know for sure what the program does. Page On What Documentation Should Comprise In a project of any size it is vital to maintain readable descriptions of what each program is supposed to do, how it is used, how it interacts with other parts of the system, and on what principles it is based.
These form useful guides to the code.
What is not useful is a narrative description of what a given routine actually does on a line-by-line basis. Anything that contributes no new information, but merely echoes the code, is superfluous.
Page On Following the Rules The book ends with the following paragraph on following the rules of programming style: To paraphrase an observation in The Elements of Style , rules of programming style, like those of English, are sometimes broken, even by the best writers.
When a rule is broken, however, you will usually find in the program some compensating merit, attained at the cost of the violation. Unless you are certain of doing as well, you will probably do best to follow the rules. Well, this book is generously sprinkled with such short witty one-lines capturing the essence of the section. Below are some of those words of wisdom. On Expressions: Say what you mean, simply and directly. Use library functions.
Avoid temporary variables. Trying to outsmart a compiler defeats much of the purpose of using one. Let the machine do the dirty work. Replace repetitive expressions by calls to a common function.
Parenthesize to avoid ambiguity. Use the good features of a language; avoid the bad ones. Make your programs read from top to bottom.
Use IF Use the fundamental control flow constructs. Write first in an easy-to-understand pseudo-language; then translate into whatever language you have to use.
Follow each decision as closely as possible with its associated action. Use data arrays to avoid repetitive control sequences. Choose a data representation that makes the program simple. On Program Structures: Modularize.
Use subroutines. Make the coupling between modules visible. Each module should do one thing well.
Make sure every module hides something. Let the data structure the program.
Write and test a big program in small pieces. Use recursive procedures for recursively-defined data structures. Make sure input cannot violate the limits of the program. Terminate input by end-of-file or marker, not by count. Identify bad input; recover if possible.
Treat end-of-file conditions in a uniform manner. Make input easy to prepare and output self-explanatory.
Use uniform input formats. Make input easy to proofread. Use free-form input when possible. Use self-identifying input. Allow defaults. Echo both on output. Localize input and output in subroutines.
On Common Blunders: Make sure all variables are initialized before use. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
The elements of programming style
This article may rely excessively on sources too closely associated with the subject , potentially preventing the article from being verifiable and neutral.
Please help improve it by replacing them with more appropriate citations to reliable, independent, third-party sources. February Learn how and when to remove this template message. January Kilobaud Microcomputing.
Retrieved 23 June Retrieved from " https: Hidden categories: Articles lacking reliable references from February All articles lacking reliable references Pages to import images to Wikidata. Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history. This page was last edited on 30 December , at Don't strain to re-use code; reorganize instead.
Kilobaud Microcomputing stated that "If you intend to write programs to be used by other people, then you should read this book. Mouth-breathing What kind of car do you drive? And if alas! Dennis Ritchie, renowned author of the C programming language, obligingly responded to our query as follows: I don't usually answer this kind of request; various Who's Who compilers have gone unrequited.
Lessons[ edit ] Its lessons are summarized at the end of each section in pithy maxims , such as "Let the machine do the dirty work": Write clearly -- don't be too clever.
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