REVIEW - The Kollected Kode Vicious


The Kollected Kode Vicious


George V. Neville-Neil


Addison-Wesley Professional (2021)




Ian Bruntlett


September 2021



Verdict: Recommended

This book is a compilation of the author’s essays from two ACM (Association of Computing Machinery) magazines – Queue, and Communications of the ACM. The 87 essays are split into 5 categories, best summarised by the book:

  1. The Kode at Hand: What to do (or not to do) with a specific piece of code.
  2. Koding Konundrums: Issues that surround code, such as testing and documentation.
  3. Systems Design: Overall systems designs topics, from abstraction and threads to security.
  4. Machine to Machine: Distributed systems and computer networking.
  5. Human to Human: Dealing with developers, managers, and other people.

The author moves in exalted circles – the foreword to this book was written by Donald E. Knuth himself and he is listed on the University of Cambridge’s website as an Industrial Visitor which lists his interests as “code spelunking, operating systems, networking and time protocols”.

The book is interesting and informative – yet, because of its breadth, challenging to summarise, hence the brevity of this review. This book is best read one essay at a time, to allow the content to bed in. One such essay is ‘Top Five Koding Peeves’. Unusually, it does not begin with a ‘Dear KV’ letter but dives into the author’s five pet coding peeves – Crappy Comments, Dangling Else Clauses, Magic Numbers, Code Dingleberries, and Global Variables.

I found myself agreeing with the author. I’d like to provide more information on those writings – but summarising 87 essays over a broad range of topics would be unworkable in a review – however, if you want to know more about them, go to the book’s website – it has a full list of the individual essay titles.

Definitely worth reading – and, due to its brevity, an ideal book to have to hand to be read during a break from other work.

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