Touch of Class: Learning to Program Well with Objects and Contracts by Bertrand Meyer

Springer-Verlag, 2009

876 + lxiv pp.

ISBN-13: 978-3540921448

Full color printing; many color illustrations and photographs

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Is this really a book about Eiffel? Perhaps in some senses it is not. It is a book about exactly what the subtitle indicates: Learning to Program Well with Objects and Contracts. (Primary emphasis should fall on the word "Well".)

Still, the Eiffel method and language are used in this journey as tools, the best tools known, to help those seeking excellence in software development become prepared to meet the types of challenges a career in software will present. In the rapidly changing software world, this is a tall order. As the preface (for instructors) states:

It is not enough to present immediately applicable technology, for which in our globalized industry a cheaper programmer will always be available somewhere ... [Software professionals] must master software development as a professional endeavor, and by this distinguish themselves from the masses of occasional or amateur programmers.

Touch of Class imparts its message using techniques which have accumulated through decades of study of technical learning and have been applied for several years in courses at ETH Zurich. These techniques include the extensive study and reuse of libraries of high-quality software components, employment of the Eiffel object-oriented method and Design by Contract, an introduction to formal methods and a ubiquitous awareness for software engineering concerns.

A unique and refreshing aspect of Touch of Class is seen throughout the volume. Credit is given for ideas which form the foundation of modern software thinking, and in the process, those pioneers upon whose shoulders all software professionals stand, are made human and personal by photographs and historical vignettes.

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