Tuesday, July 22, 2003

"The Keyhole Problem" and other books

For over a year now, I've been interested in what I call "keyholes" in
software: gratuitous restrictions on what can been seen or expressed.
Keyholes arise in software written in any language and for any domain; they
exist in both web-based and native applications. As a result, this
research is separate from my work on C++ programming.

I've decided that my next book will be about keyholes. In particular,
about why they are harmful and how programmers can avoid them. I've set up
a web site devoted to the project, "The Keyhole Problem." I'll post
chapter drafts there for people to offer feedback on. In addition,
Artima.com has graciously offered to host a mailing list devoted to
discussion of the book material in particular and keyholes in general.

If you're interested in learning more about this project and/or signing up
for the Keyholes Mailing List, please visit the project's web page,
http://www.aristeia.com/TKP/ There you'll find a draft paper from last
summer that gives a good overview of what I mean by keyholes, and you'll
also find a draft book chapter. If you're interested in reading the
chapter, I suggest you wait a few days, because I plan to post a revised
version of that chapter by the end of the week. (When the revised chapter
is available, I'll post to the Keyholes mailing list, not to this list.)

Speaking of writing books, you may recall that in March, I announced that I
was going to work on a new edition of Effective C++. That's happening,
too. When there's more to say on that front, members of my mailing list
will be the first to know, but for now, I'll just say that that project is
proceeding concurrently with my keyholes research.

Also on the writing front, the next book in my Effective Software
Development Series is nearing publication: Elliotte Rusty Harold's
"Effective XML." It's organized like my "Effective C++," and I think that
Rusty does a great job of applying that format to XML development. The
book is slated for publication in September. When it comes out, I'll let
you know. In the meantime, you can get a flavor for the book at


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