Tuesday, February 21, 2006

N.Wirth's books...

Finally, found time from my screwed-up schedule to read Nicklaus Wirth's Project Oberon - The Design of an operating system and compiler . Very clear presentation (without any buildups) of the design and implementation of the Oberon system (yes, it presents the actual source code for the OS, Compiler, Windowing system and some applications! ).

I first saw the Oberon (V2) system in action around 1995 running on top of MS-DOS. It came with a full suite of tools including the OS (with system wide GC!), compiler, document editor, image editing tools etc. and it came in a 1MB zip file! . I was so thrilled that I tinkered with it for a few months (never liked the KEYWORDS in CAPS syntax though). However the fact that it is a closed system drove me away from the language. The language report impressed me a lot as it was very consise. Only Scheme's R^RS reports were comparable.

Coming back to the book, The chapter on the text system is my favourite. It was a pleasure to read as it nicely documents a peice table implementation. Thinking of using that as a base for the planned peixes rewrite.

If you are a beginner/intermediate programmer and trying to make it to the next level, the following books are highly recommended:

  • Data structures + Algorithms = Programs

  • Algorithms and Data Structures

  • Programming in Oberon

  • Project Oberon - The Design of an operating system and compiler

The last three are available for download here .