New: Book Report: Code Reading

I am getting ready for a The Game, and am thus hyper-aware of white cargo vans. This is tricky; while team-mate Wesley is in town, he's staying close to Delancey Street. As in Delancey Street Movers. They have a lot of white cargo vans. I was kind of twitchy in that neighborhood. Anyhow, I guess I'll post a book report: Code Reading

When I was in school, I did an internship at a now-defunct software development company called Geoworks. Some folks worry about hiring students--these kids have been "spoon-fed" assignments, can you trust them to take on more amorphous tasks, to figure things out? But that wasn't my biggest problem when I started at Geoworks. It was the code. There was so much of it. I was used to working on little assignments--a few hundred lines of code, built up over a semester. But at Geoworks--I faced the product of dozens of engineers hacking away for years. Just finding my way around the codebase was tough. Figuring out the conventions necessary to make such a codebase manageable...

I wish that Diomedis Spinellis' book Code Reading was available then. He talks about just that--how to get a handle on a big pile of code. He talks about architecture. He talks about low-level code constructs you're likely to encounter. He talks plenty about C programming (common in open-source programs) which might come in handy if you're a student emerging from a Java-heavy program.

There's some good stuff in this book. I learned a little from this book... which sounds like I'm damning it with faint praise. But remember, I've read a lot of code over the years already; this book wasn't really aimed at me. Mostly, I'd like to send this book back through time, send it back to myself 1991. It would have done me a lot of good.

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Posted 2008-11-07