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{ Monthly Archives } July 2013

Programmer Values

A question and answer exchange over at reveals something interesting about how software is valued. The question asked whether there is any real-world data regarding costs and benefits of test-driven development.[*] One of the answers contained, at time of writing, the anthropologist’s money shot: The first thing that needs to be stated is that […]

Know what counts

In Make it Count, Harry Roberts describes blacking out on stage at the end of a busy and sleepless week. Ironically, he was at the start of a talk in which he was to discuss being selective over side projects, choosing only those that you can actually “cash in” on and use to advance your […]

The future will be just like the past, right?

I’ve been having a bit of a retro programming session: The computer in the photo is a Cambridge Z88, and it won’t surprise you to know that I’ve owned it for years. However, it’s far from my first computer. I was born less than a month before the broadcast of The Computer Programme, the television […]

On what makes a “good” comment

I have previously discussed the readability of code: The author must decide who will read the code, and how to convey the important information to those readers. The reader must analyse the code in terms of how it satisfies this goal of conveyance, not whether they enjoyed the indentation strategy or dislike dots on principle. […]

Did that restructuring work actually help?

Before getting into the meat of this post, I’d like to get into the meta of this post. This essay, and I imagine many in this blog [Ed: by which I meant the blog this has been imported from], will be treading a fine line. The intended aim is to question accepted industry practice, and […]

Teaching Programming to People. It’s easy, right?

I was doing a literature search for a different subject (which will appear soon), and found a couple of articles related to teaching programming. I don’t know if you remember when you learnt programming, but you probably found it hard. I’ve had some experience of teaching programming: specifically, teaching C to undergraduates. Said undergraduates, as […]

Elegant Object-oriented Software Design via Interactive, Evolutionary Computation

The abstract of this paper from the ArXiv had me concerned: Design is fundamental to software development but can be demanding to perform. Thus to assist the software designer, evolutionary computing is being increasingly applied using machine-based, quantitative fitness functions to evolve software designs. However, in nature, elegance and symmetry play a crucial role in […]

On Scientific Computing

Or: Not everyone works the way you work Currently doing the rounds on Twitter is a paper from the ArXiV called Best Practices for Scientific Computing—a paper with 13 authors and 6 pages,including a page-long collection of references. Here’s the abstract: Scientists spend an increasing amount of time building and using software. However, most scientists […]

Representativeness in Software Engineering Research

The first paragraph describes the context of this post in relation to the blog on which it originally appeared, not For this post, I wanted to go a little bit meta. One focus of this blog will be on whether results from academic software engineering are applicable to the work I do as a […]

Garbage-collected Objective-C

When was a garbage collector added to Objective-C? If you follow Apple’s work with the language, you might be inclined to believe that it was in 2008 when AutoZone was added as part of Objective-C 2.0 (the AutoZone collector has since been deprecated by Apple, and I’m not sure whether anyone else ever adopted it). […]