Code Reading: The Open Source Perspective


In July 2000, while working on a paper on the use of slicing for choosing parts of an application to develop in a scripting language (don't ask), I found myself searching open-source programs for motivating examples, and experimenting with a tool for annotating the corresponding source code. At some point, a loud click sound in my mind brought to my attention the fact that although most books and courses teach us how to program, we actually spend most of our time reading code others have written. I reasoned that by applying my annotation tool on open source software I could write a book to present the ideas, techniques, and tools that go behind code reading.

As is often the case, the implementation of that idea turned out to be a lot more complex than I originally envisaged, but three years later the finished book is sitting on my bookshelf. By the time I had finished, most of the elements in my original plan had been revised (multiple times), but I did indeed use references to real-life open-source software for all the book's 650 examples and the annotation tool (at version 1.18 by now) for 93 out of the 130 figures. The book, published by Addison Wesley, is the first in Scott Meyers's Effective Software Development Series.

Diomidis Spinellis. Code Reading: The Open Source Perspective. Addison Wesley, 2003. ISBN 0-201-79940-5.

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Last modified: Friday, October 3, 2003 6:12 pm

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