Adam talks to Hal Abelson about the textbook he coauthored in 1985, The Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs and why it is still popular and influential today.
“If you pick up almost any computing book it starts out ‘here are these datatypes, these operations that you do’ and somewhere around 20 or 30% through the book, they show you how to define a function or a procedure. Whereas we really take the opposite approach. We say the key thing is abstraction. So we kind of start there.”
“The axe [the book] is grinding is that people write programs to do one particular thing. And then the price of that is that a whole lot of software engineering ends up being trying to get out of the hole you dug yourself into because you made a program that was too specific.”