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Timeless Classics of Software Engineering

 
 
Steve Johnson
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      07-28-2004
I'd like to hear thoughts on what books, in your opinion, are true
classics in the field of software engineering. I read a lot on the
topic - at least a book a month for many years. There are many good
authors, however, the only book on making software that is truly
timeless, in my opinion, is "Mythical Man Month" by Brooks. It never
ceases to amaze me that something written over 20 years ago would be
so relevant.

It seems like Brooks achieved this by focusing on what is the essence
of software engineering, which is comprised of:

A) building models of reality.
B) the people who tend to like building models of reality, what they
are like, and what makes them work together effectively.

Many books focus excessively on a particular language, a specific
domain, on project management, Gantt charts etc and miss the forest
for the trees.

Note that I'm specifically looking for books on making software, on
Software Engineering as a craft as opposed for classic books on
computer science (e.g. Knuth) which is a completely different category
in my mind.

Are there any other books like MMM that you can think of where every
page is packed with insight where it seems not a single word is in
vain?
I'd be grateful for your suggestions. There must be at least a couple
out there.

Thanks!

- Steve
 
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Marshall Spight
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      07-28-2004
"Steve Johnson" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message news:(E-Mail Removed) om...
> I'd like to hear thoughts on what books, in your opinion, are true
> classics in the field of software engineering.



I can't vouch for it myself, but I hear a lot of people mention
"Code Complete" by Steve McConnell.


Marshall


 
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Stephen Fuld
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      07-28-2004

"Steve Johnson" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed) om...
> I'd like to hear thoughts on what books, in your opinion, are true
> classics in the field of software engineering. I read a lot on the
> topic - at least a book a month for many years. There are many good
> authors, however, the only book on making software that is truly
> timeless, in my opinion, is "Mythical Man Month" by Brooks. It never
> ceases to amaze me that something written over 20 years ago would be
> so relevant.
>
> It seems like Brooks achieved this by focusing on what is the essence
> of software engineering, which is comprised of:
>
> A) building models of reality.
> B) the people who tend to like building models of reality, what they
> are like, and what makes them work together effectively.
>
> Many books focus excessively on a particular language, a specific
> domain, on project management, Gantt charts etc and miss the forest
> for the trees.
>
> Note that I'm specifically looking for books on making software, on
> Software Engineering as a craft as opposed for classic books on
> computer science (e.g. Knuth) which is a completely different category
> in my mind.
>
> Are there any other books like MMM that you can think of where every
> page is packed with insight where it seems not a single word is in
> vain?
> I'd be grateful for your suggestions. There must be at least a couple
> out there.


I would suggest Programming Pearls by Jon Bentley. It is one of those books
that is actually fun to read as it is so packed with insights that you
frequently find yourself having that Aha! experience.

--
- Stephen Fuld
e-mail address disguised to prevent spam


 
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Sergio Navega
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      07-28-2004
"Marshall Spight" <(E-Mail Removed)> escreveu na mensagem
news:epPNc.177055$IQ4.107932@attbi_s02...
> "Steve Johnson" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message

news:(E-Mail Removed) om...
> > I'd like to hear thoughts on what books, in your opinion, are true
> > classics in the field of software engineering.

>
> I can't vouch for it myself, but I hear a lot of people mention
> "Code Complete" by Steve McConnell.
>
>


I also vote for "Code Complete". It is a remarkable (although excessively
lenghy) work. If you don't want to face its 850+ pages, there's a smaller
alternative:

Maguire, Steve (1993) Writing Solid Code. Microsoft Press.

These two books are classics by any definition (and both were written
by "Steves" and published by Microsoft Press).

Sergio Navega.


 
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JXStern
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      07-28-2004
On 28 Jul 2004 08:04:43 -0700, http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed) (Steve
Johnson) wrote:
>I'd like to hear thoughts on what books, in your opinion, are true
>classics in the field of software engineering. I read a lot on the
>topic - at least a book a month for many years. There are many good
>authors, however, the only book on making software that is truly
>timeless, in my opinion, is "Mythical Man Month" by Brooks. It never
>ceases to amaze me that something written over 20 years ago would be
>so relevant.


Copyright 1972 by Brooks, 1975 by Addison-Wesley, to be exact.

>Note that I'm specifically looking for books on making software, on
>Software Engineering as a craft as opposed for classic books on
>computer science (e.g. Knuth) which is a completely different category
>in my mind.
>
>Are there any other books like MMM that you can think of where every
>page is packed with insight where it seems not a single word is in
>vain?
>I'd be grateful for your suggestions. There must be at least a couple
>out there.


The only book that *concise* I can think of is Kernigan and Ritchie,
"The C Programming Language", but maybe it's too techie for your
category.

Kernigan and Plauger, "Elements of Programming Style", never quite did
it for me, but others might name it.

Booch's old "Object Oriented Design" had some status for a while.

I like Gerald Weinberg's stuff, esp the "Quality Software Management"
series, but it's not as tight as Brooks.

No, I was having this same thought just the other day, that Brooks'
little book is pretty much in a class by itself, sort of the Tao te
Ching of software.

I've never actually read "Code Complete", but some of the kids seem to
like it.

And I guess GoF's "Design Patterns" is too techie for you?

J.


 
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Donald F. McLean
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      07-28-2004
Two easy ones:

Design Patterns - Gamma et al.
Refactoring - Fowler

Here's an unusual one:

How to Write a Useable User Manual - Weiss

Steve Johnson wrote:

> I'd like to hear thoughts on what books, in your opinion, are true
> classics in the field of software engineering.

 
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leslie
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      07-28-2004
JXStern ((E-Mail Removed)) wrote:
: On 28 Jul 2004 08:04:43 -0700, (E-Mail Removed) (Steve
: Johnson) wrote:
: >I'd like to hear thoughts on what books, in your opinion, are true
: >classics in the field of software engineering. I read a lot on the
: >topic - at least a book a month for many years. There are many good
: >authors, however, the only book on making software that is truly
: >timeless, in my opinion, is "Mythical Man Month" by Brooks. It never
: >ceases to amaze me that something written over 20 years ago would be
: >so relevant.
:
: Copyright 1972 by Brooks, 1975 by Addison-Wesley, to be exact.
:

There's a later edition, 1995:

20th Anniversary Edition With Four New Chapters

ISBN 0-201-83595-9


--Jerry Leslie
Note: (E-Mail Removed) is invalid for email
 
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Ron Ruble
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      07-28-2004

"Steve Johnson" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
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> I'd like to hear thoughts on what books, in your opinion, are true
> classics in the field of software engineering.


Not an SE book, but a great business book with useful
information for SEs:

"Leadership And Self-Deception", by the Arbinger Institute.



 
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xpyttl
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      07-28-2004
"Marshall Spight" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
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> I can't vouch for it myself, but I hear a lot of people mention
> "Code Complete" by Steve McConnell.


Steve's "Debugging the Development process" ain't too shabby, either, and
it's a lot shorter.

...


 
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xpyttl
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      07-28-2004
"Steve Johnson" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
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> I'd like to hear thoughts on what books, in your opinion, are true
> classics in the field of software engineering.


DeMarco has quite a number of good books on the topic, but his "The
Deadline" is by far the most entertaining, most fun, and most on-target book
I've read on the subject of what makes a project tick.

...



 
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