A Beautiful On-line Version of SICP

If, like me, you’re a lover of SICP (Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs) you’ll be happy to know that there’s a beautiful on-line version of it available. Years ago, MIT generously put up a version but some of the figures were hard to read and the typography was pretty much what you’d expect from an automatic rendering of the \LaTeX from that era.

This text is rendered in HTML5 and the figures drawn in vector graphics. You can read about the evolution of this project in the UTF Introduction in the book. A lot of loving work went into this and it shows. The introduction says that this was completed in 2014 but I am just now seeing it. If you’re interested in the source or an epub version, the project’s web page has an an announcement of this version along with links to the source and other renderings of it. Take a look and see if you don’t agree that it’s a beautiful rendering of one of the most important books in CS.

I think that last judgment (about SICP being one of the most important CS books) is even more true today since, sadly, the approach taken by SICP is no longer popular. It’s been abandoned—even at MIT, where the whole thing began—in favor of plugging black boxes, in the form of libraries, together to build a program. Perhaps, as even the authors of SICP say, that’s necessary in today’s environment but students are missing out by not being immersed in the view of our profession offered by SICP.

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