Book review: Masterminds of Programming

When twenty or so langage creators are put together to make a book, it can only be interesting. It’s a good revealer of character, as they tend to open their heart. In fact I think that’s exactly what happened in this book.

Content and opinions

I won’t make the list of the chosen langages. They are taken from the successful ones, in terms of quality as well as fame, which means that some are less known than others. Each chapter is very different, and, as I’ve said, very revealing.

Depending on the interviewed, the addressed topics are different. For some authors, you get questions and answers very close to their langages. For others, you have some feedback on how they see the programming field and its future evolution. Some will tell you how much their langage is great and that is a shame it is not more used or that it could replace almost everything. Other will tell you that they fill their langage slipped through their hands.

There is no single line of code, it’s really a thoughts book, and this is the point of the book: you don’t get advice on how you will write code or design your application. You get inner reasons for some langages and their success. You get leads for the future of your program, how langages may evolve and on what you may focus your attention. Unfortunately, the chapter I almost liked the most is the last one (on Eiffel). It’s funny that in this precise chapter, Bertrand Meyer talks about the treasures he found in the last chapter of Structured Programming (Dijkstra et al).

Conclusion

From a cultural point of view, this book is a gold mine. For an ego point of view, this book is a revealer. All things considered, a lot of things can be learnt by reading this book on the philosophical approach of some langages.

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