I can’t believe that it’s been a whole year since my book came out (the official publication date was Jan. 16, 2007). The paperback will be out the third week in February, with a new afterword that carries the story through the release of Chandler’s Preview edition. The recent restructuring and cutbacks of the project are foreshadowed in this section. But they happened way past the time we could have added material, which is too bad — but I guess that’s one reason that I have a blog.
I’m proud to say that Dreaming in Code also recently went into its fifth hardcover printing. We did pretty well for a book about a Beckettian software project.
This is a good moment to thank Mark Bernstein for his warm review of the book, which posted over the holidays, so I caught up with it late. I’ve met Bernstein only a couple of times — many years ago at one of the Digital Storytelling Festivals in Colorado, and then once again at one of the Bloggercons. He’s a formidable innovator and leader in the field of serious hypertext fiction, and a software entrepreneur as well, both under the umbrella of his company Eastgate Systems. One of Eastgate’s products is a Mac-based PIM called Tinderbox, one of the very few programs I know of that fulfills at least a portion of the ambitions that Chandler set out with.
Anyway, here’s a bit from his post:
On this framework, Rosenberg hangs a masterful and engaging survey of the thinking that underlies contemporary software engineering. This overview will have lasting importance, as I think it’s destined be the textbook that introduces a generation of students throughout the world to the professional practice of software and to its founding voices â€” Brooks and the Mythical Man Month, Parnas, Joy, the postmoderns, the agilists.
He also offers some fair criticism:
What Rosenberg doesn’t capture â€” because Chandler seldom captured it â€” is the way software actually gets written: in slow, steady segments, in dashing sprints, in long nights of inspiration, in weeks of staring at the screen, but always â€” in the end â€” by one or two people working to get something to work. In practice, this usually means one or two people imagining how it might work, and then making it happen. There wasn’t enough of this in Chandler, and when it did happen, it too often happened to infrastructure, deep in foundations that were expected to underpin grand structures that were never built.
To have carved such a fine, generous, and useful book out of the debris [of Chandler] is a very fine accomplishment indeed.
I’m grateful for such a response. Bernstein has also posted some fascinating ideas on what he calls “NeoVictorian Computing,” which I keep intending to post on. Soon!
[tags]chandler, mark bernstein, tinderbox[/tags]
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