The Language of E-books

Competing formats and incompatible devices have spawned a complex lexicon

3 min read
The Language of E-books
Illustration: Richard Mia
Remember the Internet Explorer vs. Netscape “browser wars” back in 1995 or so? That’s where e-book formats are today.

Jani Patokallio

September 14, 2000, is a date which will live in, well, “nonfamy,” if I may be permitted such a neologism. That day, Microsoft released Windows Millennium Edition, its most forgettable operating system. It was also the day I posted the entry p-book to my Word Spy site, along with the following prognostication: “Within a few years, using the word ‘book’ without any kind of modifier will be confusing because people won’t know if you’re talking about a book printed on paper or one that’s printed on electrons (so to speak). So I predict that ‘p-book’…will become a common noun that will help us distinguish between the paper and electronic formats.”

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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