Suddenly, I Understand Software

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2023-11-18 21:30:06

Even though I don't respect podcasts as an information delivery system, I recently listened to a podcast that felt like having an epiphany.

The podcast in question was episode 61 of Future of Coding. It is essentially a read-through/review of two papers with which I was unfamiliar, but which I believe are actually quite famous and influential.

Why did listening to this feel like an epiphany? Well, I suddenly felt like I understood what the deal is with software. Why is it that when you join a company, the engineer who's been there for years seems like an incredible genius? Why do some teams that I've been on struggle while others manage to get everything right? Why is everyone always so keen to rewrite things?

Having these two ideas explained together was really helpful. If I had read Ryle by himself, I would have thought, “interesting and useless”. If I had read Programming as Theory Building without knowing the theory concept, I would just not have understood.

I recommend listening to the podcast and reading the paper. But if you don't want to do that, I'm going to try and explain the two points.

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