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Mark Nelson

Dr. Dobb's Bloggers

Some Holiday Reading

December 21, 2008

In most of the US and Europe, the last two weeks of the year mean a light work schedule. For me some of that time goes to catching up on my reading. Here are a couple of short tidbits online that you might find worthwhile:

Bjarne on Education

Once Bjarne Stroustrup finished putting the bow on C++ and sliding it under our collective Christmas tree, he turned to the life of a CS professor at Texas A&M University. 

This has undoubtedly given him lots of time to think about how to crank better programmers out of the system, and he shares some of this thoughts with Datamation in this article.

Money quote:

 Take a simple example: A friend of mine looked at the final projects of a class of third-year CS students from a famous university. Essentially all had their code littered with “magic constants.” They had never been taught that was bad style – in fact they had never been taught about programming style because the department “taught computer science; not programming.” That is, programming was seen as a lowly skill that students either did not need or could easily pick up on their own.

Larry Wall on Perl

Don't think much of C++? Well surely you love Perl then.  In this Computerworld article, Larry Wall talks about his adorable creation, including answering the big question: when will version 6 finally hit the net? (Answer: at least one year, 3 days from today.)

CW: You once listed the three virtues of a programmer as laziness, impatience and hubris...

LW: If you are lazy you look for shortcuts. If you are impatient you want your program to be done now. And as for the hubris, that makes the programs easier to distribute. That will help programs be used universally and that has some ego value.

 If you're in the mood for some additional background on these two titans, check the DDJ Excellence in Programming awards for 2008 and 1996.


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