One of the growing movements in software development is the use of patterns. Based on the work of Christopher Alexander as described in his books, A Pattern Language, Oxford University Press, 1977 and The Timeless Way of Building, Oxford University Press, 1979, it entered the computing field with the publication of the classic book Design Patterns by Gamma et. al., Addison-Wesley, 1994. A design pattern is a reusable meta-design that can be applied in many different contexts. The timeless adjective can also be applied to this book by Weinberg. Originally written in 1971, the only parts that are dated are the descriptions of the hardware. All points dealing with the human elements of software creation are just as valid today as they were twenty five years ago. Furthermore, as long as the human psyche stays as it is, they will continue to be valid. Despite all of our technical and physical advances, there is no reason to believe that human nature has changed in the last three thousand years. As so many writers point out, the high failure rate of software projects is not due to technical factors but human ones. Weinberg deals with many of these points and offers simple advice on how to solve the psychological problems of software development. In many ways, his solutions can be considered patterns as well. I listed this book as one of the best books of the year in my annual column published in the September, 1999 issue of Journal of Object-Oriented Programming and could probably do so again in an other twenty five years.
What did you think of this review?
Fun to Read
About the reviewer
Charles Ashbacher (CharlesAshbacher)
Charlie Ashbacher is a compulsive reader and writer about many subjects. His prime areas of expertise are in mathematics and computers where he has taught every course in the mathematics and computer … more
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.
I recently reread parts of The Psychology of Computer Programming that seemed very radical to me when I first read them in 1971. As I look around at today's programmers, I can see what a large, beneficial effect that work has had. --Richard Mateosian, IEEE Micro
The Psychology of Computer Programming . . . was the first major book to address programming as an individual and team effort, and became a classic in the field. . . . Despite, or perhaps even because of, the perspective of 1971, this book remains a must-read for all software development managers. --J.J. Hirschfelder, Computing Reviews
Whether you're part of the generation of the 1960's and 1970's, or part of the current generation . . . you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy of this wonderful book. Once you've digested it, you should then track down all [twenty] of the other Weinberg textbooks published by Dorset House. . . . Every one of them is a jewel. --Ed Yourdon, Cutter IT E-Mail Advisor