The Elements of Programming Style (2nd Edition)
Brian W. Kernighan, P. J. Plauger
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
The Elements of Programming Style, by Brian W. Kernighan and P. J. Plauger, is a study of programming style, advocating the notion that computer programs should be written not only to satisfy the compiler or personal programming "style", but also for "readability" by humans, specifically software maintenance engineers, programmers and technical writers.
The book pays explicit homage, in title and tone, to The Elements of Style, by Strunk & White and is considered a practical template promoting Edsger Dijkstra's structured programming discussions. It has been influential and has spawned a series of similar texts tailored to individual languages, such as The Elements of C Programming Style, The Elements of C# Style, The Elements of Java(TM) Style, The Elements of MATLAB Style, etc.
The book is built on short examples from actual, published programs in programming textbooks. This results in a practical treatment rather than an abstract or academic discussion. The style is diplomatic and generally sympathetic in its criticism, and unabashedly honest as well— some of the examples with which it finds fault are from the authors' own work (one example in the second edition is from the first edition).
Modern readers may find it a shortcoming that its examples use older procedural programming languages (Fortran and PL/I) which are quite different from those popular today. (Few of today's popular languages had been invented when this book was written.) However, many of the book's points that generally concern stylistic and structural issues transcend the details of particular languages.