Wednesday Nov 02, 2011

Welcome to the (System) Developer's Edge

The Developer's Edge went out of print a while back. This was obviously frustrating, not just for me, but for the folks who contacted me asking what happened. Well, I'm thrilled to be able to announce that it's available as a pdf download.

This is essentially the same book as was previously available. I've not updated the links back to the original articles. It would have been problematic, in some instances the original articles no longer exist. There are only two significant changes, the first is the branding has been changed (there's no cover art, which keeps the download small). The second is the title of the book has been modified to include the word "system" to indicate that its focused towards the hardware end of the stack.

I hope you enjoy the System Developer's Edge.

Monday Feb 14, 2011

Interview with Jim Mauro

I was really pleased that Jim Mauro agreed to interview about developing for multicore processors. The interview has just gone live on the informit site.

Thursday Jan 20, 2011

Interview about Multicore book

An interview I did with Christy Confetti-Higgins has just gone up on OTN.

Sunday Nov 28, 2010

Multicore Application Programming: Source code available

I've just uploaded all the source code to the examples in Multicore Application Programming. About 160 files.

Sunday Aug 01, 2010

Multicore application programming: podcast

A few weeks back I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Allan Packer as part of the Oracle author podcast series. The podcast is a brief introduction to the book.

Wednesday Jul 28, 2010

Multicore application programming on Safari books

A roughcut of Multicore Application Programming has been uploaded to Safari books. If you have access you can read it, and provide feedback or comments. If you don't have access to Safari, you can still see the table of contents, read the preface, and view the start of each chapter.

Wednesday Jul 07, 2010

Multicore application programming: update

It's 2am and I've just handed over the final manuscript for Multicore Application Programming. Those who know publishing will realise that this is not the final step. The publishers will layout my text and send it back to me for a final review before it goes to press. It will probably take a few weeks to complete the process.

I've also uploaded the final version of the table of contents. I've written the book using It's almost certain not to be a one-to-one mapping of pages in my draft to pages in the finished book. But I expect the page count to be roughly the same - somewhere around 370 pages of text. It will be interesting to see what happens when it is properly typeset.

Tuesday May 11, 2010

New Book: Multicore application programming

I'm very pleased to be able to talk about my next book Multicore Application Programming. I've been working on this for some time, and it's a great relief to be able to finally point to a webpage indicating that it really exists!

The release date is sometime around September/October. Amazon has it as the 11th October, which is probably about right. It takes a chunk of time for the text to go through editing, typesetting, and printing, before it's finally out in the shops. The current status is that it's a set of documents with a fair number of virtual sticky tags attached indicating points which need to be refined.

One thing that should immediately jump out from the subtitle is that the book (currently) covers Windows, Linux, and Solaris. In writing the book I felt it was critical to try and bridge the gaps between operating systems, and avoid writing it about only one.

Obviously the difference between Solaris and Linux is pretty minimal. The differences with Windows are much greater, but, when writing to the Windows native threading API, the actual differences are more syntactic than functional.

By this I mean that the name of the function changes, the parameters change a bit, but the meaning of the function call does not change. For example, you might call pthread_create(), on Windows you might call _beginthreadex(); the name of the function changes, there are a few different parameters, but both calls create a new thread.

I'll write a follow up post containing more details about the contents of the book.

Tuesday May 19, 2009

Developer's Edge safari rerelease

We've just pushed a new version of The Developer's Edge to safari. The original version didn't show any of the text from each section of the book unless you logged into the safari site. The new version shows the snippet from each section even if you're not a subscriber.

I was pleased to see that the book is featured on the Sun Studio developer portal.

I'm also scheduled to give a second life presentation during JavaOne at 9am PST on the 3rd June.

Thursday Apr 30, 2009

Computer organization and design

Just returned from Europe - customer visits and the OpenSPARC workshop in Brussels. Since I was doing a fair amount of air travel I took a number of books. With good timing, I'd just got a copy of Patterson & Hennessy's Computer Organisation and Design.

The book is certainly an interesting read. Although there are various ways you might read the book - or various lessons you might extract from it, I took it as basically a book that describes how to build a MIPS processor. Much of the work I do is at the hardware-software border, so I found it useful to read around the domain a bit more. The book is a relatively easy read, lots of detail (which I didn't need to memorise), and a nice pace that builds up from a simple core into a more complete implementation of a processor. The book has a chapter on multicore, but this was not treated to the same depth. There's also some material about GPUs, and that also didn't fit very well.

Thursday Apr 02, 2009

The Developer's Edge - Hardcopy updated

The cover art for The Developer's Edge has been updated. You can see this on the Amazon picture, which now agrees with the one on the left of this blog.

Friday Mar 27, 2009

The Developer's Edge available in hardcopy

The Developer's Edge is now available as hardcopy!

It is being made available as print-on-demand. You can either order through the publisher Vervante, or you can order through Amazon.

However, I suggest you wait until next week before ordering as the current cover art is not the final version (you can play spot the difference between the image on the left and the one on the Vervante website). I'll post when it gets fixed. Of course, you can order the "limited-edition" version if you want :)

I introduced the book in a previous post. I'll reproduce a bit more of the details in this post. The brief summary is:

The Developer's Edge: Selected Blog Posts and Articles focuses on articles in the following areas:

  • Native language issues
  • Performance and improving performance
  • Specific features of the x86 and SPARC processors
  • Tools that are available in the Solaris OS

The articles provide a broad overview on a topic, or an in-depth discussion. The texts should provide insights into new tools or new methods, or perhaps the opportunity to review a known domain in a new light.

You can get more details than this from the Safari site, either reading the preface or skimming the table of contents

I would love to hear feedback on this book, feel free to e-mail me directly, leave comments on amazon, or leave comments on this blog, or on the blogs of the other contributors.

Wednesday Nov 05, 2008

OpenSPARC Internals book

The OpenSPARC Internals book has been released. This is available as a free (after registration) pdf or as a print-on-demand book. The book contains a lot of very detailed information about the OpenSPARC processors, and my contribution was a chapter about Sun Studio, tools, and developing for CMT.

Tuesday Feb 26, 2008


Solaris Application Programming is now available as a kindle book. I've not had the chance to try one of these things, but it seems like a perfect fit for reference books; a lot probably depends on the speed of the search - I rarely use technical books in a linear way.

Monday Jan 28, 2008

Sample chapter from Solaris Application Programming available

There's a sample chapter from my book up on

It's chapter 4 which is the chapter which discusses the tools that come with Solaris and Sun Studio. The chapter exists because I find that there are some tools that I use every day, and some tools that I might touch once a month, and some that I use even more rarely. The problems I hit are:

  • What was the name of the tool which ....?
  • What are the command line options to ...?
  • Is there a tool to ....?

Obviously I hit the third problem very infrequently, but I'm sometimes surprised when I discover a tool which I'd previously never heard of which just happens to do exactly what I need. Anyway I hope you find the chapter useful. It's one of my two solutions to this problem.

The other solution is spot which attempts to collect all the data that you routinely need for performance analysis of an application. So it calls the other tools - so you don't need to know the commandlines, or the names of the tools. One of the things that should be noticeable with spot is that it has few commandline options. I was hoping that we'd end up with none, but some are inevitable; but those are really house-keeping options (where to put the report, what to call it). There's only -X which generates an extended report, given the time it can take to get the data, it seemed appropriate to do the high value stuff quickly with an option for the tool to take a longer time when the user specified that it was ok.

Saturday Dec 29, 2007

The book is here

Yesterday afternoon I got two copies of the Solaris Application Programming book. I'd been on edge for quite a few days, since they were supposed to be printed on the 21st. I've skimmed through it and it looks fine (I recently read this, old, post on Jim Mauro's blog about the first edition of Solaris Internals, so I was expecting the worst!).

Friday Sep 28, 2007

Solaris Application Programming Table of Contents

A couple of folks requested that I post the table of contents for my book. This is the draft TOC, not the finished product. I assume that there will be a good correspondence, but the final version should definitely look neater.

Tuesday Sep 25, 2007

Solaris Application Programming book

I'm thrilled to see that my book is being listed for pre-order on Amazon in the US. It seems to take about a month for it to travel the Atlantic to Amazon UK.

Thursday Aug 02, 2007

Outline of book for Solaris developers

It's probably useful to outline the contents of the book I'm working on. The book is meant as a resource for people coding for or on the Solaris platform, for either SPARC or x85/x64 processors. It falls into four main sections:

  • Hardware. Solaris is supported on both x86/x64 and SPARC. Both processor families have different features and different assembly languages. But there's also a lot of commonality in processors (e.g. Caches, TLBs etc.). The first section of the book outlines common features of processors, and also the differences between the two families. It also covers particular implementations of the families (e.g. UltraSPARC T1 etc.) All this material is useful context and definitions for the material that follows later.
  • Software. The software is Solaris and the tools that ship with it, the Sun Studio compilers, the performance profiling tools, and the debugging tools. In fact, there are tools for most questions that a developer could think of asking, the trick is to know that they exist and have some examples that demonstrate the use of the tools.
  • Source code. Inevitably much of what the developer deals with is source code, and this section demonstrates how to use the available tools to identify, tune, and improve source code. The section has coverage of the topic of using performance counters to determine what's causing performance bottlenecks, and also of deriving metrics using performance counters. The section also covers using compiler options and source code modifications to improve performance.
  • Multi-core. Almost all systems that are available today have more than one core. The challenge going forwards is to utilise these resources effectively and efficiently. This section focuses on the various approaches that can be used to leverage these resources, and the tools that can be used to diagnose and improve the code.

Tuesday Jul 31, 2007

Snippet from book: cost of calling libraries

I've been working on a book about developing on Solaris, and I'm currently in the final stages of editing - which is a great feeling :) One of the strange things that happens at this stage is that material ends up being cut out. One of the sections that didn't make it was a discussion of the overhead of calling dynamic libraries rather than static libraries. The text is in a 'raw' format, and for some reason the document claims to have 4 pages, rather than the 3 that are there.


Darryl Gove is a senior engineer in the Solaris Studio team, working on optimising applications and benchmarks for current and future processors. He is also the author of the books:
Multicore Application Programming
Solaris Application Programming
The Developer's Edge
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The Developer's Edge
Solaris Application Programming
OpenSPARC Book
Multicore Application Programming