Tuesday, December 16, 2014

On the Final Passing of Dr. Dobb's

Back in the days when magazines about computer programming were a thing that existed, there was only one I was interested in reading: Dr. Dobb's Journal. It was full of code, and technical subjects, and witty writing about code and technical subjects. I learned quite a few bits (no pun intended) of technique and knowledge from DDJ back in my early years learning about and being a programmer. I undoubtedly owe some of what I am now to the work they did then.

I will admit I stopped reading DDJ years ago. Computers got more complex; low level programming content was slowly taken over by library overviews and process articles. The speed of the web, and the explosion of programming's footprint ate all the magazines' lunches. But I haven't forgotten how I used to feel looking into those pages and thinking that maybe I could be that good someday.

I don't know if I am that good now. I'm too close to the subject to be able to tell. It did inspire me to keep trying to write about programming, which gave me an even bigger respect for those who do it well. Code can be such a dry, technical subject, and yet DDJ managed to be at its best informative, inspiring, and humorous.

The magazine itself has been out of print for many years now. Today we learned that the website carrying on the name will stop producing content at the end of the year. The programming world will carry on of course, but we shouldn't forget the value of Running Light Without Overbyte.

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