Beaucoup de livres traitent de techniques (design patterns, tests) ou de technologie (C#, etc). Celui-là est différent. Il s'attache à faire comprendre les concepts sous-jacents, les idées fondamentales.
C'est un livre difficile, pas pour des raisons mathématiques mais parce qu'il fait réfléchir et "grandir" en tant que développeur.
Mais celui qui le termine sera un bon développeur quelque soit le langage utilisé au quotidien.
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1.326 internautes sur 1.342 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Its the Best! Its the Worst! Why the split?9 mai 2000
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I think its fascinating that there is such a split between those who love and hate this book. For most books, the review is a bell-shaped curve of star ratings; this one has a peak at 1, a peak at 5, and very little in between. How could this be? I think it is because SICP is a very personal message that works only if the reader is at heart a computer scientist (or willing to become one). So I agree that the book's odds of success are better if you read it after having some experience.
To use an analogy, if SICP were about automobiles, it would be for the person who wants to know how cars work, how they are built, and how one might design fuel-efficient, safe, reliable vehicles for the 21st century. The people who hate SICP are the ones who just want to know how to drive their car on the highway, just like everyone else.
Those who hate SICP think it doesn't deliver enough tips and tricks for the amount of time it takes to read. But if you're like me, you're not looking for one more trick, rather you're looking for a way of synthesizing what you already know, and building a rich framework onto which you can add new learning over a career. That's what SICP has done for me. I read a draft version of the book around 1982, when I was in grad school, and it changed the way I think about my profession. If you're a thoughtful computer scientist (or want to be one), it will change your life too.
Some of the reviewers complain that SICP doesn't teach the basics of OO design, and so on. In a sense they are right. The book doesn't directly tell you how to design and write an object-oriented program using the subset of object-oriented principles that show up in the syntax of Java or C++. Rather, the book tells you what those principles are, how they came to be selected as worthwhile, how they can be implemented from the ground up, and how a different combination of principles might be more appropriate for some particular problems. This approach requires you to understand the range of possibilities, and to think about trade-offs as you go through the design process. Programming is a craft that is subject to frequent failure: many projects are started and abandoned because the designers do not have the flexibility, experience and understanding to come up with a suitable design and implementation. SICP gives you an approach that will succeed, but it is an approach based on principles and wisdom, not on a checklist. If you don't understand the principles, or if you are the kind of person who wants to be given a cookbook of what to do rather than to think creatively, or if you only want to work on problems that are pretty much like the problem you worked on last time, then this approach will not work for you. There are other approaches that will be more reproducible for a limited range of simple problems, but there is no better way than SICP to learn how to address the truly hard problems.
Donald Knuth says he wrote his books for "the one person in 50 who has this strange way of thinking that makes a programmer". I think the most amazing thing about SICP is that there are so FEW people who hate it: if Knuth were right, then only 1 out of 50 people would be giving this 5 stars, instead of about 25 out of 50. Now, a big part of the explanation is that the audience is self-selected, and is not a representative sample. But I think part of it is because Sussman and Abelson have succeeded grandly in communicating "this strange way of thinking" to (some but not all) people who otherwise would never get there.
594 internautes sur 614 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
The Classic20 mai 2000
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This is one of the great classics of computer science. I bought my first copy 15 years ago, and I still don't feel I have learned everything the book has to teach. I have learned enough to write a couple books on Lisp that (currently) have four to five stars. Yet SICP, which is pretty much the bible of our world, has only three? How can this be? Reading the reviews made it clear what happened. An optimistic professor somewhere has been feeding SICP to undergrads who are not ready for it. But it is encouraging to see how many thoughtful people have come forward to defend the book. Let's see if we can put this in terms that the undergrads will understand -- a problem set: 1. Kenneth Clark said that if a lot of smart people have liked something that you don't, you should try and figure out what they saw in it. List 10 qualities that SICP's defenders have claimed for it. 2. How is the intention of SICP different from that of Knuth? Kernighan & Ritchie? An algorithms textbook? 3. Does any other book fulfill this purpose better? 4. What other programming books first published in the mid 1980s are still relevant today? 5. Could the concepts in this book have been presented any better in a language other than Scheme? 6. Who is al? Why is his name in lowercase?
125 internautes sur 130 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Outstanding16 juin 1999
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The negative reviewers entirely missed the point of this book. The issues are not c++ versus scheme, nor the gap between the book's examples and real-world programs, nor that recursion is less intuitive than looping. The real point is to teach some very core foundations of computer science that show up everywhere. For example, supposedly revolutionary XML looks a heck of a lot like a nested scheme list, first described in 1960. And processing an active server page (or Java server page) is very much like the textbook's specialized language evaluator. Finally, c++ polymorphism through vtables and part of Microsoft's COM mechanics are the exact same thing as the book's data-directed programming section. This is very deep material for a programming newbie to learn outside a course, but for an experienced nerd who's looking for a systematic framework, it's absolutely terrific. I had done lots of lisp and compiler work before reading the book, so many of the concepts were not new. But it's with this framework in mind that I learn new technologies, and this approach greatly speeds up how long it takes to understand each week's "new" hot product/language/tool/mindset. Put another way: why do so many popular computer books take 1000 pages to describe a few trivial concepts?
84 internautes sur 89 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Fantastic book, but not for beginners26 novembre 1999
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The reviews of this book are just hilarious; I've never seen a book with reviews so sharply polarized between one and five stars. I think the reason for this is that most of the one-star reviewers had this book rammed down their throats in an introductory CS course, and it blew their minds. This doesn't surprise me; despite the fact that the book is meant to be an introduction to computer science, for most students it will be just too abstract and too difficult. I've been programming for over ten years, and I had to work really hard to understand a lot of the concepts presented here. Nevertheless, I think this is a great book because it discusses lots of ideas that receive inadequate or no coverage elsewhere. The material on compilers, for instance, is difficult (and idiosyncratic because they're compiling scheme, which has its own pecularities compared to, say, compiling C) but if you can work through it you get a pretty deep understanding of what's going on, without having to get bogged down in parsing or other trivial stuff. My suggestion: DO NOT read this book if you are just learning how to program; come back to it after a few years of experience and it will stretch your mind. Also, if you're having trouble I recommend Harvey and Wright's "Simply Scheme" as a much gentler introduction to the same material.
36 internautes sur 36 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
SICP changed the way I think about making software.13 août 2006
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A truly wonderful book. What else can I say?
I discovered it about 10 years into my career in software, on a recommendation from a friend from MIT where it is used for the introductory CompSci course (6.001). Originally, I didn't think a book used in a first course of computer science can contain anything I didn't know already. In the end, I ended up getting Scheme (the LISP variant used for exercises in the book) and spent almost two months working through the exercises in the book. Why? Because it challenged and changed the way I think about software.
Over the years, my thinking was influenced by Wirth's Pascal (abstract data types), later by the C/C++/Java people (K&R, Stroustrup,Gosling) and the OO people (GoF). But Abelson and Sussman presented a richer and more powerful approach - software systems as layers of languages and linguistic abstractions, with linguistic abstractions serving primarily as means of formulating and exploring problems and, only then, as means of specifying algorithms for computers to execute. They get that point across by providing reasonably challenging exercises in LISP using first functional programming (the lambda is fun!!), then data abstractions and generic programming (you end up writing a symbolic algebra program), followed by objects and state (the delayed stream approach is really nice). At this point you are about half way through the book but the really interesting stuff is ahead: first modifying the LISP evaluator to implement lazy evaluation and non-deterministic computing, and finally, implementing the evaluator on register machines.
While working my way through the book, I went through the MIT 6.001 course materials on the MIT OCW website, as well as the Berkeley SICP course which are both based on this book. Both courses are, no doubt, excellent, but in the end I found the best approach for me was to simply stick with the Abelson and Sussman and do the exercises.