Thanks to the good folks at Lambda the Ultimate, a programming-languages blog that I have subscribed to for several years, we’re getting a little more of a discussion going on The Mythical Man-Month. Several people have noted that few of us have the time to read a book a week for a discussion group like this. That would certainly include me (if I hadn’t already read a lot of the books already).
My plan for Code Reads has always been to mix up longer essays and books with shorter works. This week’s reading is Edsger Dijsktra’s “Go To Statement Considered Harmful,” which really isn’t long at all. I’ll post my thoughts tomorrow — I’m running just slightly behind this week — and we’ll see how it goes.
Over the next month, as we build a little more momentum here, I will try to post a longer schedule of topics so there’s a little chance to read more in advance — or, if you see a half-dozen topics but only one in particular interests you, you can cherry-pick it.
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Dijkstra’s essay _is_ rather dense, though!
In trying to find a response to it that I’d remembered reading, I came across an annotated version of the original essay, here: http://david.tribble.com/text/goto.html. (There’s also a marvelous little example at the end.)
Dijsktra’s “Go To Statement Considered Harmful” is credited as the ‘first’ public statement of the argument. That makes it important reading for those interested in the history of programming.
I suggest this article as a follow-on: Knuth, D. E., “Structured Programming with go to Statements”. Computing Surveys, Vol. 6, No. 4, December 1974. It is available at
Thanks for the links. The Tribble piece is one I’d found too. I’ve read a lot of Knuth but not that paper, so thanks, Jim — it’s on my list!