random reading

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random reading

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Edited: May 19, 2009, 11:20pm

I have a low tolerance for explanation. I have read only three books on programming that were terse enough; I've started the fourth. I wondered what YOUR favorites were. Here are the ones that've impressed me:

The C Programming Language--Kernighan and Richie
Expert C Programming--Peter van der Linden
UML Distilled -- Martin Fowler

I actually have really enjoyed The Unified Modeling Language by Grady Booch, et. al.; each chapter reads like one of the books above.

And now I'm working my way through Agile Project Management with Scrum -- Ken Schwaber

May 25, 2009, 3:52pm

If you like learning and programming for the sake of fun (and not just work), then you might enjoy the following (in no particular order):

Structure and Interpretation of Computer programs by abelson, sussman and sussman -- This is probably the best introduction to Computer Science. Also available on line at http://mitpress.mit.edu/sicp/full-text/book/book.html

The Art of Computer Programming series by Knuth.

Communicating Sequential Processes by C. A. R. Hoare -- An absolute must if you want to learn about concurrent programming. It is out of print but you can find a copy @ http://www.usingcsp.com/cspbook.pdf

Paradigms of Artificial Intelligence Progamming by Norvig & on lisp by Paul Graham.

Purely Functional Data Structures by Chris Okasaki & Haskell: The Craft of Computer Programming by Simon Thompson

If you want something very very terse, pick up any manual on APL and experiment!

In general these books are a lot more fun if you implement some programs in each.

May 25, 2009, 8:01pm

I'm consulting (I do database development) for a group that seems to be (or about to be) discovering some form of Agile system.

Since I hadnt done any systematic reading about XP and AGILE etc, just picked up a little here and a little there, I started with Mary Poppendieck's "Lean Development ... "

It reads a bit like an advertisement brochure with lots of "hubba hubba" and lots of earnest exhortation "Honest injun, this stuff works great, cross my heart and hope to smoke a picked herring if it doesnt"; but
there were maybe half a dozen take away points that seemed to make sense to me.

I suppose I could have wished for something a bit more compact and a bit more Sgt Joe Friday (you know, "Just the facts, Ma'am")

May 25, 2009, 8:12pm

APL! Omigosh, is there still an APL?
(Quick check shows ACM sigs on APL all over. Wow)

In the 80's or thereabouts APL had a niche among financial analyst types. I suppose financial models and
statistical analysis of time series was easy to confect in APL and then manipulate on an ad-hoc a basis.

But you'ld think that sort of thing would be done better these days on something like mathworks or mathCad.

Who uses APL these days and why?

May 27, 2009, 8:18am

modalursine: Read Agile Project Management with Scrum. It's just exactly what you're asking for. There is a chapter on "why"--Ken Schwaber is a systems engineer as well as a programmer... but most of the book is a collection of techniques, and how/when to apply each. There's an excellent talk on Google video from one of Ken's close associates on how and more interestingly, why, various agile techniques were introduced to the Google team: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8795214308797356840.

May 27, 2009, 12:23pm

As for APL, I think some of those same financial types are still solving those problems, on a larger scale and with more complex models, using a modern APL like Dyalog.

Just as there is continuity in some planning and other applications that used to be called expert systems, now done at 21st century scale and speed, using SBCL or Clozure CL.

Just more quietly, maybe.