Beautiful code : leading programmers explain how they think by Andrew Oram; Greg Wilson

By Andrew Oram; Greg Wilson

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In a weak sense, I “wrote” Examples 3-2 through 3-12 of the program. I wrote them first in scribbled notes, then on a chalkboard in front of undergraduates, and eventually in this chapter. I derived the programs systematically, I have spent considerable time analyzing them, and I believe that they are correct. Apart from the spreadsheet implementation of Example 3-11, though, I have never run any of the examples as a computer program. In almost two decades at Bell Labs, I learned from many teachers (and especially from Brian Kernighan, whose chapter on the teaching of programming appears as Chapter 1 of this book) that “writing” a program to be displayed in public involves much more than typing symbols.

One of my articles, “A Case Study in Applied Algorithm Design” (IEEE Computer, Vol. 17, No. 2) describes how I once faced the problem of evaluating the performance of a strip heuristic for finding an approximate travelling salesman tour through N points in the unit square. I estimated that a complete program for the task might take 100 lines of code. After a series of steps similar in spirit to what we have seen in this chapter, I used a dozen-line simulation to give much more accuracy (and after completing my little simulation, I found that Beardwood et al.

The callback should set * *handler_baton to the value we should pass as the baton * argument to *handler. */ svn_error_t *(*apply_textdelta)(void *file_baton, apr_pool_t *pool, svn_txdelta_window_handler_t *handler, void **handler_baton); /** We are done processing a file, whose baton is file_baton (set by * add_file or open_file). We won't be using the baton any * more, so whatever resources it refers to may now be freed. */ svn_error_t *(*close_file)(void *file_baton, apr_pool_t *pool); /** All delta processing is done.

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