New: Book Report: Beautiful Code Chs 2-4

(Another episode of Iron Puzzler is coming soon. And now, on to our partial book report, Beautiful Code, chapters 2-4...)

Subversion's Delta Editor / Karl Fogel

This essay was nice. It talks about SVN's way of expressing file trees and deltas to that tree. I think I'd seen this in some lecture or other, but it had mostly leaked out of my head again; the review was welcome. Next, this chapter discusses the problem the SVN team wanted to solve, a tricky bit of API design. Then the explanation of the API: a code comment. It's a long code comment. But it's a good code comment.

"The real strength of this API, and, I suspect, of any good API, is that it guide's one thinking." Heck, any API guides your thinking. A good API leads your thinking to a better place;a bad API leads your thinking to bedlam.

The Most Beautiful Code I Never Wrote / Jon Bentley

Jon Bentley convinced me to buy this book when he presented this essay's material as a talk. It's a great talk, with twists and turns and math and the importance of measurement. Uhm, but since I'd already seen the talk, I just kinda skimmed the chapter.

Finding Things / Tim Bray

This essay left me cold. Searching Apache weblogs with a regular expression? OK. Lookups using an index done via a binary search? Sure, OK. I dunno, this "beautiful" code seemed kind of everyday to me. Maybe there were subtle insights here that I overlooked. Maybe I take this stuff too much for granted.

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Posted 2008-01-16