software engineering foundations?

skip at skip at
Tue Jul 22 20:52:50 CEST 2008

Sorry for the off-topic-ish post.  My son (a fairly junior sysadmin type)
mentioned to me today that he was looking for online courses for Perl.  (I
don't hold that against him.  Perl is still a lingua franca in the sysadmin
realm.)  In my work I have from time-to-time had to pick up and maintain
scripts (generally shell/Python stuff) which non-professional programmers
have written.  It's never what you would call a "pleasant" task.

There are software construction skills which are entirely distinct from the
language in which you are programming.  We can tout object-oriented,
structured programming, test-driven development or other software
engineering techniques, but there is a body of knowledge out there which is
orthogonal to the language in which the code is written.  People who are not
professional programmers often lack those skills and their code shows it.

Are there any good online resources for this "software structure" axis?
Googling for "object oriented programming tutorial" yields a bunch of stuff,
much of it language-specific.  I'm trying to find something a bit more
general than that though.

I Googled for "software engineering tutorial" as well.  Most of the early
hits were either inaccessible (ACM subscription only) or contents-like stuff
(conference announcements, for example).  Number eight on the list was this
rather promising page:

It was last updated over 10 years ago.  I find it hard to believe that
so little has changed in that time that some other page with more recent
references hasn't percolated to the top of Google's page rank!  After all,
the Web has grown just a tad in that timeframe.

I have a sneaking suspicion that what I'm looking for is out there, but that
I'm not asking Google in the right manner.  Any and all pointers/suggestions
cheerfully accepted.


Skip Montanaro - skip at -
ELON MUSK: If fuel cells were good, don't think you'd see them somewhere,
like maybe in a laptop or a cell phone or a $200 million military satellite
maybe?  And yet, where do you see them?
ELON MUSK: Exactly.

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