Peter Seibel, "Coders at Work"

Slowly finished reading “Coders at Work”.

Peter Seibel, “Coders at Work”

The book consists of interviews with a dozen well-known programmers. Here are creators of UNIX, Netscape, JavaScript, Smalltalk, Haskell, Erlang, Ghostscript, LJ and also merely Donald Knuth.

The author asks them similar questions: when and why you started programming, how you usually work, where and on what you have worked and are working now, what do you think about the development of programming languages over the past decade, what you can advise the young etc. Some memoirs theme is dangerous because you can slip into elementary senile grumbling like “but at our times…” or “you’d better write in machine language and it’ll teach you more…”, but all proved to have very balanced view of reality. Of course, there is a radical separation between functional and imperative fans but this is the question of religion rather than age.

Many refer to various books - I have expanded much my “must read” list.

It’s funny that almost no one answered unequivocally positive about C++. They were like “very hard, difficult etc” or “well, now that more than anything so far there is no better than to build native code of industrial complexity, let him be.”

Lyrical digression. I’ve been smoking Go and it takes me off deeper and deeper. I can say that I have almost found all of my C++ habits in Go. And its innate multi threading and ultra-fast compile polish everything.

Also there is an interesting opinion on whether it’s required for all self-respecting programmers to read the “Art of Computer Programming” Knuth, or at least have in the library. Many recognized that they didn’t read from cover to cover, but used as a reference.

As always I’ve got that I did not even have heard of some very famous things. For example, Literate programming from Donald Knuth or Bloom filter.

In general, I’ve found the book very interesting. If you are longing covers like “should I program the entire career…” or “should I shift to management or architects because young is pressing from the back…”. Here is given an excellent, but the hidden answer: any of these ways can bring and satisfaction and, importantly, wealth. That’s the beauty of our profession. Just do the thing that you want to work till night, look around wondering what’s going on and not worry that you can be unnecessary - you can’t.

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