A magazine about programmers, code, and society. Written by humans since 2018.


David Kadavy

Few ecosystems react as viscerally and as brutally to "bad" visual design than whatever Apple has brought into the world. From the first Macintosh to the latest Vision Pro, the whole idea of making apps for Apple platforms involves, hopefully sooner than later, a severe and serious evaluation of style along with functionality.

Charles Petzold

How do you start learning about computers? The opinions about this particular subject have a cardinality close to the number of computer scientists or IT professionals on the planet. Everyone will have their own opinion, but a single book published in 2000 might have helped everyone reach an agreement, and that is no small feat.

Travis Swicegood

A quick review of previous entries in the Library section of this magazine shows that it does not feature any book from The Pragmatic Programmers, for no other reason than gross oversight. We have discussed books from MIT Press, Addison-Wesley, O'Reilly, and many other publishing houses, and now it is time to solve this issue. This month we will elaborate on "Pragmatic Version Control Using Git", a 2008 book by Travis Swicegood.

Edward Nash Yourdon

Here is a confession. The first drafts of this issue of De Programmatica Ipsum were written under the name "Structured Programming". Understandably enough, the news of Niklaus Wirth's passing triggered a prompt renaming and the choice of a somewhat narrower focus. However, Pascal's rise in popularity during the 1970s and 1980s cannot be explained unless we elaborate on Structured Programming, and this month's Library book is among the most important ones ever written about the subject.

Alex Wiltshire & John Short

Last September, we reviewed our first "coffee table book": a precious and unwieldy volume by Taschen called “The Computer”, written by Jens Müller and Julius Wiedemann. At the end of that article, we mentioned another coffee table book, and it is about time we talk about it in detail. This month's Library entry is, then, "Home Computers: 100 Icons that Defined a Digital Generation" by Alex Wiltshire, featuring photographs by John Short, published by MIT Press in 2020.

Carl Sagan

The news of a software patch uploaded to the Voyager probes reminded me of a 1980 book telling precisely the story of how their journey began 46 years ago. When said book hit the publishing press, Voyager 1 had just finished its flyby of Saturn, a planet which Voyager 2 was about to survey a few months later. Assisted by gravity slingshots, the latter probe would reach Uranus in 1986 and Neptune in 1989. Both Voyagers would cross the Heliopause decades later, one in 2012, and the other in 2018. Against all odds, they are both beeping back to Earth as you read these lines.

James Cortada, Emerson Pugh, & Louis Gerstner Jr.

It turns out that IBM has an internal policy forbidding employees to write books about the company while they are employed by it. This is the major common point among the three authors of this month's Library article: they were all IBMers at some point, and they all wrote their books after leaving.

Christopher J. Date

As much as the NoSQL pundits would like to make us think otherwise, learning about relational database technologies is still, and hopefully will still be, a staple of computer science education in the years to come. There are quite a few authors considered as references in the field, but without any doubt, the subject of this month's Library article is by far the most prolific of them all.

Jens Müller & Julius Wiedemann

None of the previous 48 entries in the Library section of this magazine have dealt with what is commonly referred to as a "coffee table book". Today we rectify such omission by showcasing a massive, recent, and by all standards, very desirable book from Taschen, the legendary German publishing house.

Mark Jones Lorenzo

The history of the BASIC programming language is, at best, scattered across countless books, a consequence of the disdain and arrogance of generations of programmers who loudly advocated for the dismissal of such a lesser language. Or maybe it is not, and it just so happens that the language was so wildly influential that it is impossible to elaborate on any computer in the past 50 years without coming across the path of a BASIC dialect at some point.

Back to top