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{ Monthly Archives } February 2013

How to handle Xcode in your meta-build system’s iOS or Mac app target

OK, I’ve said before in APPropriate Behaviour that I dislike build systems that build other build systems: Some build procedures get so complicated that they spawn another build system that configures the build environment for the target system before building. An archetypal example is GNU autotools – which actually has a three-level build system. Typically […]

I just updated Appropriate Behaviour

The new release of Appropriate Behaviour—the book about things programmers should do that aren’t programming—is now up. The most obvious, and most awesome, change in this update is a fabulous new cover, designed by Sebastian Hermida of Should you be in the market for a cover page, I’d strongly recommend him. Other changes in […]

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 […]

An observation designed to aid the reading of books on software

Wherever a book on writing software describes the 1968 NATO conference in Garmisch on Software Engineering, consider whether the clarity of the argument can be improved by adding the following parenthetical clause: […], a straw man version of an otherwise real conference that took place in 1968, […] Usually it can. The proceedings of the […]

Anyone Can Write A Manifesto And You Can Too!™

Over a small number of years, I have helped to write some software. During this time I have come to value: Solving problems over rejecting what has passed before Solving problems over congratulating ourselves Solving problems over creating problems Solving problems over clever rhetorical tricks That is, while the things on the right are sometimes […]

Talking about talking

I recently gave a talk to my colleagues about giving talks. Here is an annotated collection of the notes I made in preparation. – What do you want the audience to get out of the talk? As you’re constructing your talk, ensure that you’re actually satisfying your mission. If you want to inspire people, make […]