Charles Petzold

“Beautiful Code” Coming in June

March 11, 2007
New York, N.Y.

CS professor and author Greg Wilson conceived a book in which a variety of programmers would each discuss a particular interesting or elegant programming solution that might be classified as “beautiful code.” He contacted a bunch of programmers and persuaded them to write chapters, and O'Reilly editor Andy Oram whipped the resultant essays into shape.

The result is Beautiful Code: Leading Programmers Explain How They Think and is scheduled to be published in June. Details including a chapter list are in Greg Wilson's blog. Based just on the chapter titles (which I hadn't seen before), the book looks to me like an instant programming classic.

I'm not sure how my name got on a list of “leading programmers,” but I am honored to have been a part of this project. My contribution to the book pays homage to the implementation of the BitBlt function in Windows 1.0 (which generated machine code on the stack and executed it) with a modern analogue: a C# Windows Forms program that generates .NET Intermediate Language on the fly to perform image-processing jobs.

It was Greg's idea that all royalties from the book would be donated to Amnesty International, an organization that works for human rights around the world, and that was a big factor in persuading me to sign onto this project with such enthusiasm..