ATBG: Ontogeny, phylogeny and virtual methods

I’m back! As always, I had a delightful August visiting friends and relatives in Canada. It was even more fun than usual because I’ve got a new boat. That is, a new-to-me boat; the boat is almost as old as I am. It’s a 1976 avocado-green Hobie 16. Here’s a video I shot of my first time trying it out: (I recommend watching it in HD resolution.)

Well enough chit-chat, back to programming language design. Today on the Coverity Development Testing Blog’s continuing series Ask The Bug Guys I’ll discuss how C++ is like a discredited theory of evolutionary biology and why that means you should not call a virtual method in a constructor.

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Even more video

Here’s another portion of the video interview that I shot over Christmas at Coverity headquarters in San Francisco.

In this bit I talk about the history of C#, how C#’s safety system is definitely a step in the right direction but not by any means a panacea, the most common defect patterns we find in C# code, the basic workflow for using the Coverity static analyzer, and finally a plug for this very blog. That’s a lot to fit into seven minutes!

More video

Here’s another fragment of the video interview I posted recently.

In this fragment I discuss the difference between analying IL and analyzing source code when trying to figure out if a defect exists. It turns out that you can get much better results by looking at the source code; there’s simply more information there. Being able to look at things like indentation and comments, where local variables were declared, and so on, makes a subtle but very real difference in the quality of the analysis.

This was an interesting video shoot for me. When I was at Microsoft I was used to Charles coming by with a hand-held camera and chatting with me off-camera, and then we’d pretty much post the whole thing. This was a much more involved production with lights, several camerapeople, multiple takes, and so on.[1. Also I find it amusing that they've changed the color saturation and tonality quite heavily; I'm not actually that pink, and the wall behind me is not green!]

Ship it!

Today is a few days short of my first anniversary of starting work at Coverity. It has been an extremely fun, educational and challenging year. I wanted a change, and I got one in a lot of ways. Working at a rapidly-growing, ten-year-old, 300-person company is very different than working at an industry behemoth like Microsoft. Working in a downtown Seattle skyscraper is a pleasant change from crossing the bridge to Redmond every day. I’ve spent the last six months doing a lot more strategy and planning than writing code, which I hope to rebalance back towards the coding side for the next six months. Continue reading

The A-star interviews

Tech blogger George London is running an interesting series of video podcasts wherein he interviews programmers about their jobs and then asks them to recommend other programmers to interview. On his ninth hop through the social network he managed to get to me. If you have 75 minutes to spare, here’s our long and rambling interview from the ukulele storage room in the new Coverity office. Subjects covered include Coverity, Roslyn, the Commodore SuperPET 9000, rocket ships, Zork, woodworking, sailing, monads and teaching trigonometry to youngsters, and many more.

Eric rambles on about C#, again

Rachel Roumeliotis, who amongst other things edits C# books for O’Reilly, recently did an interview with me where I ramble on about async/await, Roslyn, performance analysis as an engineering discipline, and some broad-strokes ideas for future language research areas. If you have sixteen minutes to burn, check it out! The O’Reilly Radar blog post is here, and the video has also been posted to YouTube here.

A couple things to mention here; first, I say in the video that we’ve shipped one preview release of Roslyn; in fact we have shipped two. The video was recorded before we had announced the new release. And second, I want to re-emphasize that the end bit where you get more of Eric’s musings about ideas for future language research areas are for your entertainment. We have not announced any product beyond Roslyn, and we are certainly making no promises whatsoever about the feature sets of unannounced, entirely hypothetical products. Enjoy!

A face made for email, part three

It has happened again: someone has put me on video talking about programming languages.

This time our fabulous C# Community Program Manager Charlie Calvert was good enough to put together a little half-hour-long video of me talking about the scenarios which justify changes to the type inference algorithm for C# 3.0.

The video is here. Enjoy!