The Nightstar Zoo

SICP: Opinions?
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Author:  Schol-R-LEA [ Sun Jun 11, 2006 8:18 pm ]
Post subject:  SICP: Opinions?

I want to ask you about what is probably (judging from, among other things, the reviews on Amazon) the most divisive introductory text in the field: Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs.

(And if you haven't read it before, take a look at the online edition. It will be well worth your time - if it doesn't put you to sleep, that is.)

It's an odd little book, and tends to generate strong emotions. I am personally in love with it, and with the Scheme language, but I've got a definite theoretical bent; and even given this, the rather abstruse nature of the text makes it hard to follow, and even harder to apply to real world programming (I discuss this in greater depth here and here). Practical-minded programmers almost universally hate it, because it is entirely abstract - it takes a lot of effort and time to digest the material, and even then, the presentation is so dry that a lot of programmers find it completely worthless. Even on an abstract level, many have opined that it is sloppy and poorly thought out, but others aver that it is lucid and tightly-reasoned. There doesn't seem to be much room for compromise with it - for most people, they either love it or hate it.

I was wondering what the folks here thought of it. Any comments?

(This has been crossposted to the NightStar Code Monkeys forum and User Friendly ARS, if you are interested in seeing the responses from elsewhere.)

Author:  gnolam [ Fri Jun 16, 2006 6:55 am ]
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I rather liked it, actually (as well as Scheme itself). I never found it too theoretical - sure, it's not a quick reference, but that isn't its purpose...

Plus, its name can be pronounced as "Sick pee"... ;)

Author:  Raif [ Sat Jun 17, 2006 1:37 am ]
Post subject: 

My initial gut reaction is of a negative disposition. That is to say, it does not leave me with the warm fuzzy feeling that good programming/development literature usually does.

That said, to each his own and programmers should do what works for them (to an extent). Jamming developers into a pre-cut method of doing their job is usually a recipe for shit code... or at the very least, a lot of wasted development time.

Author:  Schol-R-LEA [ Sat Jul 08, 2006 11:54 pm ]
Post subject: 

indulges in a bit of idle thread necromancy

Any other comments?

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