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Literate Programming with LibreOffice

This post comes in the form of an OpenDocumentFormat document containing a program that can extract programs from ODF documents, including the program contained in this document.

Your build needs to be better

I’ve said it before, build systems are a huge annoyance. If your build is anything other than seemingly instantaneous, it’s costing you severe money. Your developers are probably off reading HN, or writing blog posts about how slow builds cost them, while the build is going. When they finish doing that, which may be some […]

An acceptable tool

An acceptable tool It’s easy to forget that adequacy is, well, adequate. It’s easy to go all-in on making some code structure perfect, when good enough would be good enough.

Beware the IDEs

I recently had the opportunity to talk with a couple of software project managers from IBM. That company is of a kind that I have never worked at, and many of the companies I have worked at are of kinds that these IBMers have not worked at. There was thus plenty of opportunity for us […]

Programming language advent

http://shape-of-code.coding-guidelines.com/2014/12/01/algol-60-awk-algol-68-ada-apl-and-assembler/ The first article, containing languages beginning with ‘A’, is linked above. I can tell this is going to be a month of reading.

More Excel-lent Adventures

I previously wrote about Excel as the most successful IDE: Now what makes a spreadsheet better as a development environment is difficult to say; I’m unaware of anyone having researched it. That research is indeed extant, and the story is well-told in A Small Matter of Programming. While Professor Nardi’s focus is on end-user programming, […]

The reasonable effectiveness of developer tools

In goals upon goals upon goals, I suggested that a fixation on developer tools is misplaced. This is not to say that developer tools are unhelpful, nor that they can’t have a significant impact on our work. Consider the following, over-restricted, definition of what a programmer does: A programmer’s responsibility is to turn a computer […]

Preparing for Computing’s Big One-Oh-Oh

However you slice the pie, we’re between two and three decades away from the centenary celebration for applied computing (which is of course significantly after theoretical or hypothetical advances made by the likes of Lovelace, Turing and others). You might count the anniversary of Colossus in 2043, the ENIAC in 2046, or maybe something earlier […]

Intuitive is the Enemy of Good

In the previous instalment, I discussed an interview in which Alan Kay maligned growth-restricted user interfaces. Here’s the quote again: There is the desire of a consumer society to have no learning curves. This tends to result in very dumbed-down products that are easy to get started on, but are generally worthless and/or debilitating. We […]

How much programming language is enough?

Many programmers have opinions on programming languages. Maybe, if I present an opinion on programming languages, I can pass off as a programmer. An old debate in psychology and anthropology is that of nature vs nurture, the discussion over which characteristics of humans and their personalities are innate and which are learned or otherwise transferred. […]