It is not clear to me which goal he has in mind: (1) to enrich and improve people's lives (for both programer and user) in the general sense as a contribution to human kind. (2) to make successful (popular) software/company. If the goal is latter, then much of what he said is sensible, at least at present. That is, language and software should be based on the worse-is-better philosophy, which will result in speed, ease of porting, smallness, virus-modeled popularity, and will get people hooked on for perpetual improvements and mutation. Even then, i doubt that worse-is-better philosophy's survivability will beat The right Thing in the next 10 years. If his goals is (1 then his views are muddled.
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There are illogical (literary) writing styles with exemplary clarity and excellence, but I judge the book's writings to be very low quality. Sentences' grammatical structures are very complex without being artful. Sentences are often much longer than normal. The structure of content is not well-organized by paragraphs. Ideas and passages are sometimes repeated in sections or in chapters. The arguments are not convincing. One gets the feeling that the author kicked in too much flavor of poetry haplessly. The physical aspect of reading of this book has not been a pleasant experience. With respect to the author's views on software methodologies, it appears that he writing has succumbed to fashionable mediocrity. Instead of pushing for austere mathematics, he talks thesis about what pleases people. Instead of encourage people to study more math and science, he goes the other way around, saying that languages and methodologies should not be based on math but to suit average programer's intellects.
One is the author's views on software engineering issues, the other is his biography. The value of the second student is intrinsic, thus it needs not be assessed. I'll focus on his views, and the overall quality of the book. First, about his writing quality. We learned from chapters 4 and 5 that the author has strong interest in writing since teens, and has seriously engaged in writing and poetry writing starting on 1992. (he was born on 1949) Throughout the book, the author freely makes analogies to poetry to make a point. Clearly, he is infatuated with poetry. His writing style is illogical and imprecise, yet failed to be clear.
In the period 1981 to 1994, after he graduated from Stanford. Throughout chapters 4 and 5, the author gives hindsight along the narration. In particular in chapter 5, the section. Money through Innovation Reconsidered (13 pages) is a detailed explanation of why worth-is-better is better. The author uses classic examples like macintosh vs pc, success of Microsoft, japanese vs American car industries and analogy to theory of evolution to persuade the reader that worth-is-better is not just better in practice, but also in theory. The right Thing philosophy is categorically condemned as being unfit for survival. This is in fact the main theme of the whole book. (if there is one.). General Criticism, we may divide the book into two parts.
One would expect titles like what we do must contain some non-trivial directions or advice. Instead, out of the meager 8 pages, half of them is the author's peddling of his hobby (writing/poetry and the other half contains the account of a frivolous misunderstanding as a provocation for writing more popularizing books. This chapter failed to convince or persuade me in any way. The story of paul Zimmer seems laughable and unrelated. Chapter 4, life of the Critic is a short autobiography of author's life in academy from teens to up to about age. This and next chapters seems to be the most valuable of the whole book. Chapter 4 candidly tells how the author grew up in an unimportant town as a poor nobody, missed the chance of going to havard through an incident with a lousy and nasty high school teacher, and how he by hard work and some luck, went. The writing is touching with a pessimistic undertone, and many hackers in the programing industry can probably sympathize and identify with. Chapter 5, into the Ground is the continuation of author's biography, where he narrates the start and fall of his Lisp company lucid Inc.
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I think if we student look at the facts, any well-read person will agree that these are good brief criterions on judging whether a language would be popular at present time. However, will they be the characteristics of language popularity in the future? The author believe so, and the chapter's climax predicts that C will be the last programing language. Footnote 1: The keynote address _Lisp: good News, bad News, how to win Big_ is given by the author in 1990 at the european Conference on the Practical Applications of Lisp, and reprinted in several computer journals. It is available on-line at author's home page:. Chapter 3, what we do are divided into two sections.
The first section _what we do_ is only 4 pages. It is an account of a (careless) misunderstanding of technology by paul Zimmer (supposedly a known figure in the press/writing community). The relation of this story to the section title is that we computer scientists should spend more time to explain to the public what. In particular, write books that popularize computer technology for the laymen, in the same sense that there are popularizing books on Fractals/math, Theories of Relativity/physics, stars/astronomy, dinosaurs/archeology, etc. The second section _Writing Broadside_ is also only 4 pages. Here the author, as a broadside, encourages computer scientists to improve writing skills. In particular, he emphasized studying poetry and engaging in writing workshops.
Successful languages must have modest or minimal computer resource requirements. Successful languages must have simple performance model. Successful languages must not require users have mathematical sophistication. I'll briefly go over each. By the author's first criterion, for example, java or Perl would be more popular than, say, dylan or Python.
The previous two are based on widely popular c or Unix tools, making them much easier to accept than the latter, even if the latter two are technically superior. By the second criterion, for example, c is good because it requires little resource, while lisp is bad because it requires large resource (relatively). By criterion 3, it means that the mathematical model the language is based must be simple. For example, c is the simplest because it is close to assembly, while Prolog, lisp, or java have complex performance models. By criterion 4, for example, lisp is very bad because it requires some mathematical sophistication (For example, lambda functions, recursions, and.). C is good because it's as simple as manipulating beads on an abacus.
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The unintelligibleness of chapter 1 feels like reading taoism, except that the truism isn't there. Chapter 2, languages is a 30 pages haphazard comments on some aspects of languages. Again, it is not a report of some scientific study. It is only the author's thoughts, outlooks, and predictions. This chapter is roughly an elaboration of the worse-is-better philosophy explained in his earlier publication (see footnote 1 below) except that the author this time meant it literally without sarcastic undertone. I'll give an example of the chapter's theme, so readers not familiar with the term may get some idea. The author lists four elements for writing a language to flourish. quot;: Languages are accepted and evolve by a social process, not a technical or technological one.
It occupies about 40 of the empowerment book. Although this is the largest part of the book, but I think it is also the most worthless. I did not read the book in order. I started at chapter 2 (because it seems most interesting then 3, 4, parts of 5, then back. By the time i'm reading chapter 1, my enthusiasm for the book has fallen from fanatic to almost uninterested. After reading several sections in chapter 1, i became so bored and disgusted to the point that I decided it is a _complete_ waste of time to go further. Thus, the last 3 sections in chapter 1 I have only scanned in order to write this review with a moral sense of completeness.
of each chapter. Following that is a review of the book as a whole. Chapter 1, patterns of software is the most relevant to programing of the whole book. Basically, it is a series of commentaries on issues related to programing methodologies. In particular, a non-critical criticism on object orientated technologies.
It is rather an incoherent commentary on several aspects related to software, and the author's life stories. The whole book is written report in prose style, containing 0 lines of actual code. If you thought this book is a non-technical book that one might learn something about the latest programing methodologies (as the title might suggest you are wrong. It is more to the point if the title were my view and life stories. (Rather a fit title given the author's fame.). Book table of Contents, the book is written (completed) around 1995, as hinted in chapter. The book is divided into 5 chapters, about 235 pages: Introduction (by Christopher Alexander preface. Reuse versus Compression Habitability and piecemeal Growth Abstraction Descant the quality without a name patterns Languages the failure of Pattern Languages the bead game, rugs, and beauty. Language size the End of History and the last Programming Language Productivity: Is there a silver Bullet?
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Date:, this is restaurant a review of the book patterns Of Software 1996 by richard p gabriel. Buy at amazon, summary. I was strongly attracted to the author because of his fame in the lisp community, and because i usually highly value ideas from the lisp community. Reading this book is one big disappointment. In two sentence summary: the book appears to be an old crank's rambling on software issues and personal bearings. Nothing of technical value, and the insights are of dubious or trivial value. A bit about the content: First of all, this book does not teach the least bit of science or programing.