Found 13 comments on HN
shakna · 2018-12-01 · Original thread
If you've never met Scheme, then SICP [0, 1, 2] may be something that can change the way you program. It certainly made me better, or at least a deeper understanding.

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Op3QLzMgSY&list=PLE18841CAB...

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Structure-Interpretation-Computer-Pro...

[2] https://web.mit.edu/alexmv/6.037/sicp.pdf

panta · 2017-10-09 · Original thread
I can't recommend courses, because I don't have direct experience of any, but given what you say, my suggestion would be to take a bit of a pause from pragmatic problems, and dedicate some time to learn the foundations of computer science, in particular about algorithms and data structures. I'd recommend a couple of books: "The Algorithm Design Manual" by Steven Skiena if you want something not too theoretical, or "Introduction to Algorithms" by Cormen, Leiserson, Rivest, if you want a bit more breadth and theory:

https://www.amazon.com/Algorithm-Design-Manual-Steven-Skiena...

https://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Algorithms-3rd-MIT-Press...

As a second suggestion, I'd recommend to learn a language somewhat different from JavaScript-like (or C-like) languages, something that challenges your mind to think a little differently and understand and create higher order abstractions. There are many choices, but to avoid confusion and being my favourite, I'll point to one: read the "Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs" by Abelson and Sussman. It teaches Scheme in a gentle and inspiring way but at the same time it teaches how to become a better programmer:

https://mitpress.mit.edu/sicp/

Or if you want made of dead trees:

https://www.amazon.com/Structure-Interpretation-Computer-Pro...

I can't recommend it enough. If you read it, do the exercises, don't limit to read through them.

Maybe it's even better if you start with this, and THEN read the books on algorithms and data structures.

Enjoy your journey!

W0lf · 2017-06-05 · Original thread
I've gathered all the book titles in this thread and created Amazon affiliate links (if you don't mind. Otherwise you still have all the titles together :-) )

A Pattern Language, Alexander and Ishikawa and Silverstein http://amzn.to/2s9aSSc

Advanced Programming in the Unix Environment , Stevens http://amzn.to/2qPOMjN

Algorithmics: the Spirit of Computing, Harel http://amzn.to/2rW5FNS

Applied Crytography, Wiley http://amzn.to/2rsULxS

Clean Code, Martin http://amzn.to/2sIOWtQ

Clean Coder, Martin http://amzn.to/2rWgbEP

Code Complete, McConnel http://amzn.to/2qSUIwE

Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software, Petzold http://amzn.to/2rWfR9d

Coders at Work, Seibel http://amzn.to/2qPCasZ

Compilers: Principles, Techniques, & Tools, Aho http://amzn.to/2rCSUVA

Computer Systems: A Programmer's Perspective, O'Hallaron and Bryant http://amzn.to/2qPY5jH

Data Flow Analysis: Theory and Practice, Khedker http://amzn.to/2qTnSvr

Dependency Injection in .NET, Seemann http://amzn.to/2rCz0tV

Domain Driven Design, Evans http://amzn.to/2sIGM4N

Fundamentals of Wireless Communication, Tse and Viswanath http://amzn.to/2rCTmTM

Genetic Programming: An Intrduction, Banzhaf http://amzn.to/2s9sdut

Head First Design Patterns, O'Reilly http://amzn.to/2rCISUB

Implementing Domain-Driven Design, Vernon http://amzn.to/2qQ2G5u

Intrduction to Algorithms, CLRS http://amzn.to/2qXmSBU

Introduction to General Systems Thinking, Weinberg http://amzn.to/2qTuGJw

Joy of Clojure, Fogus and Houser http://amzn.to/2qPL4qr

Let over Lambda, Hoyte http://amzn.to/2rWljcp

Operating Systems: Design and Implementation, Tanenbaum http://amzn.to/2rKudsw

Parsing Techniques, Grune and Jacobs http://amzn.to/2rKNXfn

Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams, DeMarco and Lister http://amzn.to/2qTu86F

Programming Pearls, Bentley http://amzn.to/2sIRPe9

Software Process Design: Out of the Tar Pit, McGraw-Hill http://amzn.to/2rVX0v0

Software Runaways, Glass http://amzn.to/2qT2mHn

Sorting and Searching, Knuth http://amzn.to/2qQ4NWQ

Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, Abelson and Sussman http://amzn.to/2qTflsk

The Art of Unit Testing, Manning http://amzn.to/2rsERDu

The Art of Unix Programming, ESR http://amzn.to/2sIAXUZ

The Design of Design: Essays from a Computer Scientist, Brooks http://amzn.to/2rsPjev

The Effective Engineer, Lau http://amzn.to/2s9fY0X

The Elements of Style, Strunk and White http://amzn.to/2svB3Qz

The Healthy Programmer, Kutner http://amzn.to/2qQ2MtQ

The Linux Programming Interface, Kerrisk http://amzn.to/2rsF8Xi

The Mythical Man-Month, Brooks http://amzn.to/2rt0dAR

The Practice of Programming, Kernighan and Pike http://amzn.to/2qTje0C

The Pragmatic Programmer, Hunt and Thomas http://amzn.to/2s9dlvS

The Psychology of Computer Programming, Weinberg http://amzn.to/2rsPypy

Transaction Processing: Concepts and Techniques, Gray and Reuter http://amzn.to/

Types and Programming Languages, Pierce http://amzn.to/2qT2d6G

Understanding MySQL Internals, Pachev http://amzn.to/2svXuFo

Working Effectively with Legacy Code, Feathers http://amzn.to/2sIr09R

Zen of graphics programming, Abrash http://amzn.to/2rKIW6Q

bra-ket · 2016-10-08 · Original thread
I learned programming without a computer in the 90s with Kernigan & Ritchie "C Programming Language", one of the best coding books ever written:

https://www.amazon.com/Programming-Language-Brian-W-Kernigha...

I'd also learn SICP: https://www.amazon.com/Structure-Interpretation-Computer-Pro...

and algorithms from either CLRS https://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Algorithms-3rd-MIT-Press... or Skiena Algorithm Design https://www.amazon.com/Algorithm-Design-Manual-Steven-Skiena...

tonyonodi · 2016-05-09 · Original thread
I'm a programmer without a computer science degree and I'm quite aware that CS is a bit of a blind spot for me so I've tried to read up to rectify this a little.

I found The New Turing Omnibus[1] to give a really nice overview of a bunch of topics, some chapters were a lot harder to follow than others but I got a lot from it.

Code by Charles Petzold[2] is a book I recommend to anyone who stays still long enough; it's a brilliant explanation of how computers work.

Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs (SICP)[3] comes up all the time when this kind of question is asked and for good reason; it's definitely my favourite CS/programming book, and it's available for free online[4].

I'm still a long way off having the kind of education someone with a CS degree would have but those are my recommendations. I'd love to hear the views of someone more knowledgable.

[1] https://www.amazon.co.uk/New-Turing-Omnibus-K-Dewdney/dp/080... [2] https://www.amazon.co.uk/Code-Language-Computer-Hardware/dp/... [3] https://www.amazon.co.uk/Structure-Interpretation-Computer-E... [4] https://mitpress.mit.edu/sicp/full-text/book/book.html

d0m · 2015-12-05 · Original thread
Friends of mine used "Create Your Own Programming Language" to get started learning about interpreters: http://createyourproglang.com

I personally learned with SICP (But reading this book isn't just about interpreter, it will make you a better programmer and blow your mind in so many different ways. I wouldn't say it's for experts only, but this isn't the kind of book that beginners would get excited about. However, if someone is serious about improving as a developer, I can't think of a better book): http://www.amazon.com/Structure-Interpretation-Computer-Prog...

Finally, (How to Write a (Lisp) Interpreter (in Python)) by norvig is a great read if you're getting started with interpreter: http://norvig.com/lispy.html

* The reason the two last links are lisp related is because writing interpreter in Lisp is really straightforward (Since the code is the AST). Similarly, if you wanted to learn about memory management, a language like assembler or C might be more suited than say Python.

stiff · 2014-01-03 · Original thread
It is actively harmful to teach students that software architecture is something that somehow arises from diagrams or that those kinds of silly pictures capture anything important about it. Powerful architectures come out of powerful ideas that in turn come from accumulated hard work of many people in different disciplines. One can learn much more from walking through the actual source code of some classic projects and from trying to understand the ideas that make them tick:

https://github.com/onetrueawk/awk - UNIX philosophy of small tools, DSLs, CS theory: state machines / regular expressions, Thompson algorithm ...

https://github.com/mirrors/emacs - Both a program and a VM for a programming language, hooks, before/after/around advices, modes, asynchronous processing with callbacks, ... Worth to think of challenges of designing interactive programs for extensibility.

https://github.com/rails/rails - Metaprogramming DSLs for creating powerful libraries, again a lesson in hooks (before_save etc.), advices (around_filter etc.), ...

https://github.com/git/git - The distributed paradigm, lots of CS theory again: hashing for ensuring consistency, DAGs everywhere, ... By the way, the sentence "yet the underlying git magic sometimes resulted in frustration with the students" is hilarious in the context of a "software architecture" course.

One of computer algebra systems - the idea of a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canonical_form

One of computer graphics engines - Linear algebra

...

There are loads of things one can learn from those projects by studying the source in some depth, but I can't think of any valuable things one could learn by just drawing pictures of the modules and connecting them with arrows. There are also several great books that explore real software design issues and not that kind of pretentious BS, they all come from acknowledged all-time master software "architects", yet all of them almost never find diagrams or "viewpoints" useful for saying the things they want to say, and they all walk you through real issues in real programs:

http://www.amazon.com/Programming-Addison-Wesley-Professiona...

http://www.amazon.com/Paradigms-Artificial-Intelligence-Prog...

http://www.amazon.com/Structure-Interpretation-Computer-Prog...

http://www.amazon.com/Unix-Programming-Environment-Prentice-...

http://www.amazon.com/Programming-Environment-Addison-Wesley...

To me, the kind of approach pictured in the post, seems like copying methods from electrical or civil engineering to appear more "serious", without giving due consideration to whether they really are helpful for anything for real-world software engineering or not. The "software engineering" class which taught those kind of diagram-drawing was about the only university class I did not ever get any use from, in fact I had enough industry experience by the point I took it that it just looked silly.

jluxenberg · 2013-04-30 · Original thread
Amaozn's got it for $46.55 (and it's eligible for Prime shipping) and MIT has it for $50; maybe I'm missing something?

http://www.amazon.com/Structure-Interpretation-Computer-Prog...

nswanberg · 2010-12-17 · Original thread
Here's the slightly modified answer I just posted there (even though it's an old question):

Back when he was still doing podcasts Joel Spolsky answered the similar question, which was partly "Does a good programmer without a CS degree really have a chance to get a job at Fogcreek?[1]" (It's near the end of the page.)

He says that for a good self-taught programmer who began with a high-level language, say PHP or Java, who comes at programming from a practical perspective, there are a few important parts of the CS curriculum the person may have missed out on, and goes on to list some books that would help fill in those gaps.

Off the top of his head he named these books in about this order:

- Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs[2] (also free online[3])

- C Programming Language[4]

- The Unix Programming Environment[5]

- Introduction to Algorithms[6]

He said that those books covered the aspects of the CS curriculum his company needs in a good programmer, e.g. being able to create algorithms for an uncommon data structure.

Those books all have the added advantage of having exercises, and all being a very pleasant read. SICP is an introduction to many of the big ideas in CS: data structures, streams, recursion, interpretation, compilation, register machines, etc., and their implementation in Scheme (a kind of Lisp). It's a great place to start. The next two focus on implementation details like pointers and memory allocation. They are compact, powerful books. The last, Introduction to Algorithms, seems misleadingly titled, as it is fairly comprehensive and used in both undergraduate and graduate courses. If you work your way through the entire book, chapeau!

[1]: https://stackoverflow.fogbugz.com/default.asp?W29060

[2]: http://www.amazon.com/Structure-Interpretation-Computer-Prog...

[3]: http://mitpress.mit.edu/sicp/

[4]: http://www.amazon.com/Programming-Language-2nd-Brian-Kernigh...

[5]: http://www.amazon.com/Unix-Programming-Environment-Prentice-...

[6]: http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Algorithms-Third-Thomas-C...

tokenadult · 2010-03-23 · Original thread
Aren't there some good books that show an overview of what programming is all about? For example, those at

http://olympiads.win.tue.nl/ioi/study/books.html

include a few quite accessible books (and several more that are very hard).

How about guidance into C via The Art and Science of C: A Library Based Introduction to Computer Science by Eric S. Roberts

http://www.amazon.com/Art-Science-Library-Introduction-Compu...

or guidance into LISP with the famous Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs (SICP) textbook?

http://www.amazon.com/Structure-Interpretation-Computer-Prog...

rglovejoy · 2010-01-08 · Original thread
Just for fun, I clicked on the link and looked for SICP. Amazon gave me a price of $115.44. If you look at the bottom, you'll see a link for the same book, only Amazon is selling it for $69.34!

What is the difference between the two? The links are:

$115.44 : http://www.amazon.com/Structure-Interpretation-Computer-Prog...

$69.34 : http://www.amazon.com/Structure-Interpretation-Computer-Prog...

Aside from price, the only difference that I can make out is that the cover for the more expensive version is a lighter shade of blue. What it looks like is that Amazon is charging a lot more if you buy SICP as a textbook rather than as a regular book.

euccastro · 2007-05-16 · Original thread
Gee, this reminds me of the time when I showed to a friend a stop motion clay animation I had painstakingly made. The man played it in fast forward. I didn't stay for his comments.

Check out the reviews at amazon.com: both PG and some Peter Norvig give you permission to read it:

http://www.amazon.com/Structure-Interpretation-Computer-Programs-Engineering/dp/0262510871/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/103-7486399-1082204?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1179281225&sr=8-1

Or yes, you can choose to postpone the important for the urgent. But for your deity of choice's sake, don't multitask at this. Whenever you think you're ready, get a paper copy and set aside some time for it every day. Kiss the cover. Open the book. Read at least one subsection and do the exercises. Close the book and kiss the cover again. Candles optional.

Get dozens of book recommendations delivered straight to your inbox every Thursday.