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The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1918 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Title:
Theories of Programming Languages
Author:
John Reynolds
ISBN:
0 521 59414 6
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Pages:
500pp
Price:
£30-00
Reviewer:
Francis Glassborow
Subject:
languages
Appeared in:
11-3
When I tell you that this book is written as a text for doctoral students studying at the Computer Science Department of Carnigie Mellon University (perhaps best known in Software Engineering circles for its SEI and the Capability Maturity Model) you will expect this book to be a deeply theoretical text. You would be right.

What this reviewer finds pleasing is that the author has avoid the trap of writing such a book using stilted academic English. The book cannot avoid pages of mathematical logic, pseudo code and the rest. Those are essential to the subject but the author has the courage to write in the first person (both singular and plural, as appropriate). I wish more technical authors would emulate him.

The book covers many aspects of computer language, all the time focusing on the fundamental principles. The would-be language designer would profit from studying this text. Such things as compositional semantics, binding structure, domains, transitions systems and inference rules are used to describe and reveal the design principles for a range of language types.

As the detailed subject matter is outside the interest of most readers I will say no more. However if anyone feels they would like to do a thorough review for publication in Overload please contact me and I will pass the review copy on.