Wow, I managed to sneak in a lightning talk about the Psychology of Programming, with a Perl twist, at the YAPC::NA 2010 conference. Very fun – it was my first ever conference talk, and I could certainly work a bit on the style, but it got some people thinking and talking, and that’s a great response. Someone requested that I post the slides so he could get the url’s I referenced. I think there was too many copyrighted images in the slides for me to put them online, but I’ll post the links for reference: Working memory limitations: Oberauer & Risse (2010), Selection of objects and tasks in working memory, The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, vol 63 (4), 784-804.[…]

I’m attending the YAPC::NA 2010 which is starting today. If anyone is going there and want to chat about the psychology of programming and how it may relate to Perl specifically, feel free to get in touch with me! I’ll be hanging out with the Booking.com people as we will be there trying to recruit some people over to Amsterdam too. I’m also hoping I’ll be able to put together a lightning talk about an interesting little finding from cognitive psychology that might put a light on what the default variable does to Perl code readability.  But as the talk is neither finished, submitted nor approved on the day of registration, it is a bit unlikely that will happen, although[…]

This would perhaps not be newsworthy normally, but I thought the PPIG newsletter was dead. Those rumours were apparently highly exaggerated: the November 2009 issue was just released, detailing among other things the PPIG 2009 workshop and the upcoming 2010 workshop. It also includes a few links to some really interesting blog posts: Does parallel processing require new languages?, What do you consider readable code?, The Top 25 Most Dangerous Programming Errors and this old article from Computerworld on how community and culture goes hand in Perl. Enjoy. Oh, and it also seems to be written extensively in rhyme.

This is not on their webpage yet, but the PPIG is organizing a workshop at the School of Computing at the University of Dundee, Scotland. I don’t know if it has been announced yet, but a call for papers have gone out with deadline November 16th, and the workshop is scheduled for January 7-8. Link to the PPIG.

Basing software development decisions on research and controlled experiments currently has some challenges involved with it. One is that there is very little research available: In a survey of research literature, a set of researchers with the IEEE Computer Society found that in the decade from 1993 to 2002 only 103 scientific controlled experiments on software development was reported. In addition to that, a fair amount of these experiments has execution problems and often suffer from small sample sizes and non-significant results. Add that experiments often look into only a very small part of computer programming and the papers often take quite some time to read and digest, and it seems apparent why research and evidence-backing is so limited in[…]

This is an exploratory blog: I started this with the intention of exploring the subject matter of Programming Psychology myself, and sharing what I found with others. Hopefully that would also lead others to share things back. Now the first thing found is that there is actually (to my naive surprise) a living research field in Programming Psychology, related to the better-known HCI (Human-Computer Interaction). Among the resources out there, there is an interest group – The Psychology of Programming Interest Group, that organizes annual workshops and publishes a newsletter. Although the page seems dead, there is apparently was a 2009 workshop. The group has also been around for 21 years, so it is no new-comer. Also, nothing exists before[…]