What I'm Reading These Days
A couple of students have asked, so here’s my reading list:
- "ACM Queue", "Communications of the ACM", "IEEE Software", "IEEE Computer": all are magazines, rather than peer-reviewed research journals; I flip through each one when I find it just to see if there's anything of interest. Good for broad, high-level overview of what everyone else is thinking about; I guess I read about 0.5 articles per magazine, and spend no more than 2-3 minutes flipping through them on average.
- "Empirical Software Engineering", "IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering", "Automated Software Engineering", "ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology", and a few others: the specialized peer-reviewed journals of record in my area. Very low hit rate these days (maybe one article in ten), partly because they cover the whole of software engineering, and partly because most of the things being discussed seem to have little to do with real-world software development as I've experienced it.
- "Discover", "American Scientist", and "New Scientist": these are for fun (yeah, I'm a science geek); I have a couple to take with me on the plane to Texas this afternoon. (I'm particularly fond of Brian Hayes' column in "American Scientist"...)
- "Computing in Science & Engineering": figuring out how to make scientific programmers more productive is the main reason I'm in academia (see http://swc.scipy.org for my current best guess). I'm on the editorial board of this magazine, and I'd guess I read about 1/4 of the articles end to end.
- "Doctor Dobb's Journal": has been talking to professional software developers since the late 1970s. Most of my book reviews appear here, and I find two or three articles in each issue worth reading from end to end. A lot of what I know about real-world technologies I pick up here.
- "Software: Practice & Experience" and "The Journal of Systems & Software": in-depth descriptions (and critiques) of real software systems (which is what I thought software engineering would mostly be about, back in my naive and idealistic youth). The first description of "Make" appeared in "SP&E" way back in 1975, and a recent issue of "JSS" described a dozen different systems for tracking the provenance of scientific data. High hit rate...
- SIGCSE: is the Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education. They have an annual conference, and I go through the proceedings article by article every year (high hit rate). I've also started reading the proceedings from ITiCSE and CSEE&T, which are (respectively) a European equivalent to SIGCSE and a conference on software engineering education and training.
- Adam Goucher's blog: best tester I ever worked with, now thinking about what QA really ought to be about. I also enjoy the Google Testing Blog.
- The Beautiful Code blog (mostly written by Michael Feathers, author of one of my favorite books): lots of good thoughts on software system design.
- The Computer Science Canada blog: student-run, student-written, interesting viewpoint on the world (always looking for contributions, by the way).
- The DemoCamp blog: DemoCamp is the equivalent of open mike night at the pub; tech people from small companies and startups in the Toronto area get up and give lightning demos and talks about what they're doing. Since David Crow founded it two and a half years ago, it has spread to more than a dozen other cities.
- Joel Spolsky, Jon Udell, and Bruce Schneier: the first is more often amusing than deep, the second reminds me of of John McPhee's essays, and the third is frankly scary.
- XKCD: the ironic person's Dilbert.