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The Art of UNIX Programming by S. Raymond, Addison-Wesley

, 27 Jul 2014 CPOL 3.1K 1
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The Art of UNIX Programming is another one for the bookshelf. It is jam-packed with insights into the philosophy, mindset and approach a Unix developer has when tackling software design the Unix way. While I have been involved with software development for a number of years, nearly all the systems I

The Art of UNIX Programming is another one for the bookshelf. It is jam-packed with insights into the philosophy, mindset and approach a Unix developer has when tackling software design the Unix way. While I have been involved with software development for a number of years, nearly all the systems I have worked on have been focussed towards the Microsoft stack. After finishing this book I now appreciate how the “other” side thinks - and I wished I had known about their philosophies and mindset years ago. Many of the things I have only recently learned to embrace in the Microsoft world have been common practice in the Unix world for decades.

The book is divided into 4 main sections: Context, Design, Implementation and Community. I really enjoyed the sections on Context and Community although there were nuggets of gold in all 4 sections.

As far as I am concerned the whole of chapter 1 is required reading. It covers a set of rules that one should apply to make effective design decisions. These rules include:

  • Rule of Modularity
  • Rule of Clarity
  • Rule of Composition
  • Rule of Separation
  • Rule of Simplicity
  • Rule of Optimization

Another section I really enjoyed was found in chapter 4 where it discussed Top Down vs. Bottom Up approach. I have been a strong advocate for the top down approach to design for a few years now, but the arguments they put forward in favor of bottom up really has made me question this stance.

The book ends off with what I would consider some of the most entertaining writing I have read in years regarding the software mindset with section ‘D’ - the “Rootless Root - The Unix Koans of Master Foo”. I found this section hilarious and enlightening.

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ISBN-13: 978-0131429017

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This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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MarkPearlCoZa
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