software engineering foundations?

Paddy paddy3118 at
Tue Jul 22 22:21:34 CEST 2008

On Jul 22, 7:52 pm, s... at wrote:
> 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.
> Thx,
> --
> Skip Montanaro - s... 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.

Is this the kind of thing you are after?

"Software Carpentry"


Many scientists and engineers spend much of their lives programming,
but only a handful have ever been taught how to do this well. As a
result, they spend their time wrestling with software, instead of
doing research, but have no idea how reliable or efficient their
programs are.

This course is an intensive introduction to basic software development
practices for scientists and engineers that can reduce the time they
spend programming by 20-25%. All of the material is open source: it
may be used freely by anyone for educational or commercial purposes,
and research groups in academia and industry are actively encouraged
to adapt it to their needs.

- Paddy.

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