I recently read a web article that ranked the top 200 articles cited in the area of computer science. The amazing part was that, for the majority of these articles, I had never heard of them. And I do not think that this is because I am not well read. Perhaps these are specialized academic articles. Or maybe the sources that reference them may be highly academic. However I would like to mention those seminal works that I did recognize.
The 6th most cited item was “Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object Oriented Software” by Gamma et al. Almost all developers know this work by the Gang of Four. I have a confession to make: I have never read this book. But that does not mean I don’t know enough about it already. The reason why I have not read it is that I think, after many years of software development, I know what an iterator is. I truly believe this book is one of the most cited works given the excitement over design patterns.
The 10th most cited work was “The art of computer programming, Vol. 3: sorting and searching” by Donald Knuth. Like the last one, I have never read this book. However I know developers who worship the work done by Knuth. A past coworker of mine first read the Design Patterns book. Then he said he started a long study of the Knuth book. You have to really work hard through the examples in the book to get the full benefit of it. Someday when I have free time I may do this myself.
Down to the 34th most cited work was “Object Oriented Modeling and Design” by James Rumbaugh. I am only familiar with this book because I surveyed the literature when I got into object oriented programming. The author is one of the big time guys that got together to produce the Unified Modeling Language (UML). So you know he must have good things to say. I am surprised his work was this high in the list. I expected a Grady Booch work to be up there higher than his.
Finally at number 131 is “Object-Oriented Software Engineering - A Use-case Driven Approach” by Ivar Jacobson. A while ago I was really into use cases. So even though I did not read this book, I knew about it. It is funny. I have not read any of these top cited works. But at least I know about a couple of these. What about you? Have you read these popular documents? If not, I encourage you as well as myself to do so real soon.
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