The Ecumenical Programmer
What is ACCU? What is it about? What does it represent? What’s it for? When ACCU began, it was all about C and C++ – the latter in particular. It’s important to put it in it’s time to understand why: C++ was undergoing its first round of ISO standardisation. ACCU was an informal bridge between ‘users’ and ‘experts’ (although it’s impossible to make a clear distinction), and provided a platform for people to write and read about the latest developments in the C++ Standard.
Since those early days, ACCU has changed much. Although the magazines are still being printed (obviously – you’re reading one!), the content has broadened immensely. Similarly, the annual Conference is no longer as strongly focussed on the C++ element that really dominated its early days. Today, the ACCU represents a much wider community of software developers working across the industry from embedded systems to large-scale cloud-based web-applications. It’s not that C++ or C have become irrelevant to us, rather that other technologies have become more important. Crucially I think, ACCU is about more than just the technologies: it is about the Practice of programming, which is so much more than just typing in code. The difference between good and bad coding practice is important to developers and managers alike – and even to users. The most important thing to managers and users is that they shouldn’t have to care – they should be able to assume it.
And that’s what ACCU is. It is the community around software development that fosters good practice and provides a way for people from lots of different disciplines – whether from different programming languages, different aspects of a team, or different sectors of the industry – to find out about new things, and share their experiences. We all have something to learn from each other, and we all have something to share. Whether you’re a beginning programmer coding for fun, an old hand trying to make your first steps on the management ladder, or someone who already manages a team, ACCU is relevant to everyone involved in the business of producing software.