Write great code: understanding the machine / Randall Hyde. p. cm. ISBN 1- 1. Computer programming. 2. Computer architecture. I. Title. QA 6. Hyde, Randall. Write great code: understanding the machine / Randall Hyde. 9 This document is available in PDF format on IBM's website (meiriseamamo.ga). Learn how to write code that everybody thinks is great. This book covers topics relevant to writing great code at a personal level: craftsmanship, art.
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How to Write Better Essays. Bryan Greetham. Key Concepts in Politics. Andrew Heywood. Linguistic Terms and Concepts. Ge. Learn how to write code that everybody thinks is great. This book covers topics relevant to writing great code at a personal level: craftsmanship, art, and pride in . Ebook (PDF, Mobi, and ePub), $ A solid foundation in software engineering, The Write Great Code series will help programmers make wiser choices.
According to the tastes of the time, its first twenty years of construction followed a Byzantine style. In , with Gothic Revival coming into fashion, a new architect was hired and the work so far was overhauled.
The original ambition for the church was that it be built using only medieval stonemasonry techniques, without steel or concrete. The stone arts were already in decline in the late Nineteenth Century, and now in the Twenty-First so few master masons remain that the bell tower may never finish the final stories of its utterance. Yet they are only half of Hyde's project. He signs off at the end of Volume 2, published in , with a chipper, "Congratulations on your progress thus far toward knowing how to write great code.
See you in Volume 3. In the first volume, "Understanding the Machine", Hyde's description of the memory bus and the cache are thorough and clear. I finally understood, briefly while I held it in my own memory, why certain sizes of struct are cached most efficiently. Hyde explains instruction pipelining, out-of-order execution, and other topics I had judged to be too magic for me.
Hyde's chapter on floating-point representation is not the first treatment of this topic I have read, but it is the first I have read to the end. I skipped, however, his tutorial on performing long-hand division in binary. Volume 2, "Thinking Low-Level, Writing High-Level", is nicely targeted: "to teach you what you need to know to write great code without having to become an expert assembly language programmer.
Write Great Code Volume I:
Ensuring data is well-aligned in memory, and walking arrays in the proper order to maximize cache coherence, are worthwhile everyday optimizations. Other advice in Volume 2 was probably silly when Hyde gave it in , and is certainly silly now, only ten years later. For example, Hyde recommends that frequently-used local variables be declared before those used less frequently, to ensure that the most common accesses use smaller offsets.
The smaller offsets potentially allow addressing modes that use shorter machine instructions. This may be true in the limit, but in my recent experience maintaining C code, I find that programmers who focus on such micro-optimizations would be better off taking a step back from the code—one can usually see greater inefficiencies when looking through a wider lens.
Whether this optimization advice is obsolete is a matter for debate, but much of the two volumes is indisputably outdated. Like Saint John's, the unfinished work of Randall Hyde needs revisions in its ground floors, even as the upper stories remain forever interrupted mid-sentence. He even cites Modula-2, which was already ancient Greek when Hyde published Volume 1 in The material's dustiness suggests it was already years old when it was finally printed.
Worse, the instruction set architectures that are the book's focus are bit Intel assembly and bit PowerPC. Those architectures were like the Byzantine style of their day: about to go out of fashion.
Had Randall Hyde never promised a four-volume monument, and instead set his sights on the smaller project he could finish, it would better endure. A merely competent pair of books does not benefit from the awesome hubris of the Cathedral of Saint John, or Joe Gould's pathos. Hyde would have been better off under-promising and over-delivering, like the rest of us mere craftspeople.
Indeed, I hazard that he and his publishers might have invested in updating Volumes 1 and 2, if the unfinished volumes hadn't loomed over them. Knuth began by writing a book about compiler design, completing a page handwritten manuscript over the years In the fifty years since, the original monolith has been split into a seven-volume project, treating comprehensively not only compiler design but nearly every aspect of computer science, computational linguistics, and discrete mathematics.
Only the first three volumes are finished, and changes in technology have required several overhauls of the work so far. The example assembly code in the published volumes is now long obsolete and will be eventually replaced with a bit modern assembly language, if it is still modern by the time that effort comes to fruition.
Between the first and second publishings of Volume 2, the original typesetting technology became obsolete. In a notorious digression, Knuth spent ten years writing a new typesetting system called TeX.
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