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Dr. Dobb's Journal

Dr Dobb's Journal #1
Editor Jonathan Erickson
Categories Computer magazines
Frequency Monthly
Circulation 120,000
First issue January 1976
Final issue February 2009
Company CMP Media
Country United States
Language English
Website www.ddj.com
ISSN 1044-789X

Dr. Dobb's Journal (DDJ) was a monthly journal published in the United States by CMP Technology. It covered topics aimed at computer programmers. DDJ was the first regular periodical focused on microcomputer software, rather than hardware. It is now a monthly section within the periodical InformationWeek called Dr. Dobb's Report and an online news site called Dr. Dobb's Portal.

Contents

History

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Origins

Bob Albrecht edited an eccentric newspaper about computer games programmed in the BASIC computer language, with the same name as the tiny nonprofit educational corporation that he had founded, People's Computer Company. Dennis Allison was a longtime computer consultant on the San Francisco Peninsula and sometime instructor at Stanford University.

In the first three quarterly issues of the PCC newspaper published in 1975, Bob had published articles written by Dennis, describing how to design and implement a stripped-down version of an interpreter for the BASIC language, with limited features to be easier to implement. He called it Tiny BASIC. At the end of the final part, Dennis asked computer hobbyists who implemented it to send their implementations to PCC, and they would circulate copies of any implementations to anyone who sent a self-addressed stamped envelope. Dennis said, Let us stand on each others' shoulders; not each others' toes.

The journal was originally intended to be a three-issue xerographed publication. Entitled Dr. Dobb's Journal of Tiny BASIC Calisthenics & Orthodontia (with the subtitle Running Light without Overbyte) it was created to distribute the implementations of Tiny BASIC. The original title was created by Eric Bakalinsky, who did occasional paste-up work for PCC. Dobb's was a contraction of Dennis and Bob. It was at a time when memory was very expensive, so compact coding was important. Microcomputer hobbyists needed to avoid using too many bytes of memory – avoiding overbyte.

After the first xeroxes were mailed to those who had sent stamped addressed envelopes, PCC was flooded with requests that the publication become an ongoing periodical devoted to general microcomputer software.

PCC agreed, and hired Jim Warren as its first editor. He immediately changed the title to Dr. Dobb's Journal of Computer Calisthenics… prior to publishing the first issue in January, 1976.

Early years

Jim Warren was DDJ's editor for only about a year and a half. While he went on to make a splash with his series of West Coast Computer Faires, subsequent DDJ editors[1] like Marlin Ouverson,[2] Michael Swaine and Jonathan Erickson appear to have focused on the journalistic and social aspects of the young but growing microcomputer industry. Some years after Warren's tenure, PCC, the non-profit corporation, sold DDJ to a commercial publisher.[1]

The newsletter's content was originally pure enthusiast material. Initial interest circled around the Tiny BASIC interpreter, but Warren immediately broadened that to include a variety of other programming topics, as well as a strong consumer bias, especially needed in the chaotic early days of microcomputing. All of the content came from volunteer contributions, Steve Wozniak counting among one of the more well known early contributors. Other contributors included Jef Raskin, later credited as a leader in the Macintosh development, and Gary Kildall, who had created the first disk operating system for microcomputers, CP/M.

Computer program source code published during the early years include:

The March 1985 issue "10(3)" printed Richard Stallman's "GNU Manifesto" a call for participation in the then-new free software movement.

Recent history

Dr. Dobb's Journal, December 2000 issue

In recent years, the magazine received contributions from developers all over the world working in application development and embedded systems across most programming languages and platforms. The magazine's focus became more professional. Columnists include Michael Swaine and Verity Stob, the pseudonymous British programmer.

The title was later shortened to Dr. Dobb's Journal, then changed to Dr. Dobb's Software Tools as it became more popular. The magazine later reverted to Dr. Dobb's Journal with the byline "The World of Software Development", with the abbreviation DDJ also used for the corresponding website. It was published by the Think Services division of the multimedia company United Business Media.

In January 2009, Jonathan Erickson, the editor-at-large, announced the magazine would become a section of InformationWeek called Dr Dobb's Report.[3]. A formal announcement to current subscribers was mailed out in February 2009:

As a valued reader, we regret to inform you that Dr. Dobb's Journal ceased its standalone monthly magazine with the February 2009 issue. The quality editorial coverage you have come to expect from Dr. Dobb's Journal continues in its sister publication. InformationWeek will now include Dr. Dobb's Report once a month.

Notes

  1. ^ a b Swaine, Michael (January 2006). "Dr. Dobb's Journal @ 30". Dr. Dobb's Journal, p. 18.
  2. ^ Autobiographical essay at PCC alumni site
  3. ^ Dr. Dobb's Journal: A Pocketful of Change

References

See also

  • Interview with Jim Warren
  • 386BSD

External links


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