[Chicago] History of programming

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Wed May 27 07:12:22 CEST 2015

On Tue, May 26, 2015 at 3:42 PM, Jason Wirth <wirth.jason at gmail.com> wrote:

> Does anyone know resources for the history of programming? For example:
> function call vs function invocation.
> Why do we use these terms? More importantly, why use "invocation" when the
> simpler word "call" exists?
> This is one example. I'm sure there are many other interesting nuggets of
> history.
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I'd say the classic The Art of Computer Programming (TAOCP) by Knuth,
multi-volume, is highly influential in giving computer science people a
touchstone with a built-in namespace.

He uses the shoptalk with confidence and with pith, basing all his
algorithms in an invented assembly level language.  You may well know if
it, but not everyone does.


Other books of that stature.

These are good questions, where our terms come from.

Python has contributed simply in providing a relatively clear application
for concepts of "binding", "namespace" and so on.

Python has a clear notion of "callable" as "those objects which eat" i.e.
"have a mouth" (how I start with beginners sometimes).

Our callables aren't just functions, but types as well.   In Python 3.x,
range() and enumerate() are type calls, not function calls.

It's an ongoing feedback loop, a continuing revelation if you wanna sound
religious about it. ;-D


(lurker in Portland, fan of Chipy)
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