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{ Category Archives } social-science

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 […]

Are you an [X] programmer?

On my twitter bio, I describe myself as: a Lovelacologist for portable transactators which is, in keeping with the way I’m dressed in the avatar pic, a steampunk way of saying that I’m a programmer of mobile computers. But is that strictly true, or fair? It’s what I’ve spent most of the last couple of […]

APPropriate Behaviour is complete!

APPropriate Behaviour, the book on things programmers do that aren’t programming, is now complete! The final chapter – a philosophy of software making – has been added, concluding the book. Just because it’s complete, doesn’t mean it’s finished: as my understanding of what we do develops I’ll probably want to correct things, or add new […]

Happy Birthday, Objective-C!

OK, I have to admit that I actually missed the party. Brad Cox first described his “Object-Oriented pre-compiler”, OOPC, in The January 1983 issue of ACM SIGPLAN Notices. This describes the Object Oriented Pre-Compiler, OOPC, a language and a run-time library for producing C programs that operate by the run-time conventions of Smalltalk 80 in […]

Does the history of making software exist?

A bit of a repeated theme in the construction of APPropriate Behaviour has been that I’ve tried to position certain terms or concepts in their historical context, and found it difficult, or impossible to do so with sufficient rigour. There’s an extent to which I don’t want the book to become historiographical so have avoided […]