Wikipedia would be better

Software Engineering: Theory and Practice (4th Edition) - Shari Lawrence Pfleeger, Joanne M. Atlee

I had to buy this for a class I took, and as a Senior it is one of the worst textbooks I have had the misfortune to need.

When I say that Wikipedia would be better, that's slightly a hyperbole, because this book pretty much was snippets of wikipedia pasted and smashed together. It includes buzzword after buzzword, and literally hundreds of management styles, charts, graphs, and very little explanation for each. Or maybe just poor explanation. In any case, I don't feel -at all- that I walked away having learned anything valid, just because it was a giant clustercrap of information.

On top of that, it uses extremely ineffective examples of the Ariane-5 rocket towards the end of most chapters, and even examples in-chapter are poor.

Really it's only purpose is to alert you that things exist. After reading it you can know what the Waterfall method is or the V method is, but not really how they work; each only gets about a page, after all. Everything in this book gets between a paragraph and a page.

Of all its problems, that is the biggest: it doesn't stress what's important, which (to me as a naive student) seems an important thing for a textbook to cover. There is no overarching theme to what is important in a chapter, or even a section. It just kind of piles term after term. Which is why I liken it to browsing Wikipedia articles and just reading the top paragraph.

Of course that's just my impressions as a student. I could see this as being a very useful reference manual, especially for someone entering the field or already in the field and assuming more of the team leader position, but certainly not as a textbook. The combination of just how much information (really in terms of names of things and a very brief description of their purpose) and how it is presented -as if it was written in paragraph-sized chunks and then pasted together- makes it unreadable.

This is definitely not a book for programmers. I think it maybe contains 30 pages of good coding guidelines, most of which are blatantly obvious ("use good variables names"). In that sense, I am definitely not the target market (at least not yet), because to me it mulls over intense over-analyzing the problem, spending 100 pages just to state what can be summed up in one sentence: "the code should work correctly." I admit that this is part of my young naivety but I refuse to accept that this topic could not have been written in a more concise and logical manner.

All I can say is, if this text is required for a class of yours, God help you.