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[Axiom-developer] Software editor

From: Tim Daly
Subject: [Axiom-developer] Software editor
Date: Wed, 24 Feb 2010 17:47:21 -0500
User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20090302)

I'm just about to cross 11,000 changes in the Axiom changelog file.
It will be 10 years of effort as of August 2010.

There have been many phases of development starting with
trying to get Axiom to run at all. At the present time I'm
reorganizing all of the software into books.

The idea is literate programming, ala Knuth and the model for
the ultimate goal is "Lisp In Small Pieces" by Christian Queinnec.
The goal is to be able to read Axiom like a book and understand the result. If that can be achieved then new generations of programmers can continue to maintain,
modify, and expand the system. Axiom will be "living software".

Having attempted to write 2 "real" books I had much interaction
with publishing houses. My contact with the publisher started
out with being assigned an "editor". Her job (female in both
cases) involved pretty much everything but content. The tasks
of arranging, editing, checking, indexing, presentation,
managing the clarity, choosing the layout, and just about
everything else fell on their shoulders. I don't think a book
comes from a publisher without going through an editor. I don't
think a book goes through an editor without begin improved.
And I don't know of many books that put the editor's name on
the cover, although given the amount of work, they probably should.
Which brings me to the point...

The job of Software Editor is missing from the development cycle
of software. We do not have people who manage the editorial aspects
of software development.

I think that if we are going to build quality software which is
intended to outlive its original developer base we need to use
literate programming. If we use literate programming we need to
learn lessons from the field of literature. One of these lessons
is the need for a "Software Editor".

Tim Daly
Axiom "Editor-in-Chief"

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