“Absolutely amazing! A page turner, just like Harry Potter for the technically minded.” —Tobias Svensson from review at return 42;

“This book is so interesting I did 60 minutes on the treadmill yesterday instead of the usual 30 because I couldn’t stop reading.” —Joel Spolsky on Joel on Software

“Coders at Work should inspire readers to learn about the wider context of their craft and stop the reinvention of the proverbial wheel” —Vladimir Sedach from review at Slashdot

“Peter Seibel asks the sort of questions only a fellow programmer would ask. Reading this book may be the next best thing to chatting with these illustrious programmers in person.” —Ehud Lamm, Founder of Lambda the Ultimate - the programming languages weblog

“I highly recommend it.” —Andy Mulholland, CTO, Capgemini

“I have long known the names and of the work of about half of the programmers in Peter Seibel’s wonderful book, Coders at Work; and it is fascinating to read their ideas about their lives and their ideas about programming. Better yet, I have now learned about the lives and philosophies of the other half of the programmers in the book, whose systems were known to me but the programmers themselves were not. Anyone interested in computer programming and what makes a great computer programmer will enjoy this book.” —Dave Walden, original member of the BBN ARPANET team

“These are wonderful interviews and this looks to be a bible for any programmer who aspires to be better.” —Peter Christensen, Founder of GeekStack.com

“This book is dead sexy. When it comes out, you should definitely get a copy.” —Joseph F. Miklojcik III from review at jfm3> _

“Superb book!” —Prakash Swaminathan from review at CloudKnow

“Read it, because then you will know the greatest coding brains.” —Amit Shaw from review at Teleported Bits

“One of the other core questions Peter asks is, what books would you recommend to help a developer learn programming? For me, this book joins my short list—it takes you away from the limitations of learning within a single company or community, and shows you the breadth of experiences that can make someone a great developer.” —Marc Hedlund from review at O’Reilly Radar

“The range of topics covered is just astounding.” —Chris Hartjes from review at @TheKeyboard

Douglas Crockford

A senior JavaScript Architect at Yahoo!, Douglas Crockford has been a programmer since the early ’70s when he took a Fortran course in college after being unable to get studio time for his major in television broadcasting. Over the course of his career, he has combined computers with media in various ways at places like Atari, Lucasfilm, Electric Communities, and now Yahoo!

Crockford is, by nature, a simplifier and a tidier. He invented JSON, the data interchange format widely used in Ajax applications, because he found XML too complicated. His recently published book, JavaScript: The Good Parts, argues that JavaScript is actually quite a nice language if one avoids certain features. When I talked to him he stressed the importance of subsetting as a way of managing complexity and described a code-reading process he uses that starts with simply tidying up the code.

At the time of our interview, Crockford had become well known as an outspoken critic of the proposed ECMAScript 4 (ES4) revision to the ECMAScript (JavaScript) language standard, on the grounds that it was too complex. He was in favor of a more modest proposal labeled ES3.1, and since then he and the other ES3.1 advocates have largely prevailed—ES3.1 has been renamed ES5, and the ES4 effort has been officially abandoned.

Crockford and I talked about what he disliked about the ES4 proposal, the importance of code reading as a team activity, and how to move the Web forward despite the legacy of existing systems.