Dreaming in Code

Scott Rosenberg mailed me a copy of of his book, Dreaming in Code, as a thank you for an interview that I did with him. This is a book about why software development is hard, and it features the Chandler project as a case study. It feels odd to open up a book and see someone else’s description of part of your life. Of course, I wanted to know what Scott had written about me, so tracing through the index was the first thing that I did. It was interesting to see which events Scott thought were noteworthy: the half-phone/half-IRC demo, the 2005 PyCon sprint, and my memo to Mitch Kapor on the state of the OSAF communites. I was relieved to see that everything about me was accurate. Well, except for one small thing. In my initial mention, I’m credited with “some of the early work on the XML data standard”. I did work on IBM’s XML4J parser, which became Apache’s Xerces-J parser, but I never did any work on the XML spec or standard itself. About half of the book takes place before I worked at OSAF, and I really can’t comment on the accuracy of the stuff that happened before I got there. I wasn’t there, and while I’ve heard some stories I also know that there’s so much more that happened that isn’t in the stories that I’ve been told.

Unfortunately, Dreaming in Code leaves the reader hanging. Scott had to wrap up his book project before we were able to ship a version of Chandler suitable for general usage (there are bleeding edge people using it now), and we are still at least several months away from reaching that goal. One of the reasons that I came to OSAF was to build open source software that non-technical people would want to use, and I (and everyone else working on Chandler and Cosmo) am acutely aware that we haven’t reached that mark yet. Quite a bit has changed since Scott had to leave us, and he posted a follow up that tries to fill in the gap between when the book left off and the present, and Katie Parlante has posted a status update for all of the OSAF projects on the OSAF blog. If you are interested in how the story of Chandler and Cosmo continues, I think that the best thing to do is to look at the mailing lists for the Chandler and Cosmo projects, as well as the OSAF wiki, where you can be up to date on the latest developments.

1 Response to “Dreaming in Code”

  • Hi, Ted– thanks for the feedback on the book. I’m sorry about that error about your background. I’m not sure how it happened. But I’m happy to say that it is, so far, the only genuine erratum for the book (other than a couple of stray single-character typos!). We’ll fix it for the paperback.

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