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An inteview with Brian Kernighan, co-developer of AWK and AMPL

Oct 07, 2009, 21:02 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Trevor Clarke)

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"In the ten years since you launched The Practice of Programming, a separate book written with Rob Pike, has the way programmers operate changed enough for you to consider amending any parts of the publication?

"Programming today depends more and more on combining large building blocks and less on detailed logic of little things, though there's certainly enough of that as well. A typical programmer today spends a lot of time just trying to figure out what methods to call from some giant package and probably needs some kind of IDE like Eclipse or XCode to fill in the gaps. There are more languages in regular use and programs are often distributed combinations of multiple languages. All of these facts complicate life, though it's possible to build quite amazing systems quickly when everything goes right. I think that the advice on detailed topics in The Practice of Programming is sound and will always be — one has to find the right algorithms and data structures, one has to test and debug and worry about performance, and there are general issues like good notation that will always make life much better. But it's not clear to me or to Rob that we have enough new good ideas for a new book, at least at the moment."

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