Further Reading

Donald Knuth’s article Literate Programming (Knuth 1984) describes the main ideas behind literate programming as well as his web programming environment. The seminal TEX typesetting system was written with web and has been published as a series of books (Knuth 1986; Knuth 1993a). Knuth and Levy presented the implementation of the cweb literate programming system as a literate program (Knuth and Levy 1994). Knuth has also published both a collection of graph algorithms in The Stanford GraphBase (Knuth 1993b) and a simulator for the MMIX instruction set (Knuth 1999) in literate format. These programs are enjoyable to read and are excellent presentations of their respective algorithms. The website www.literateprogramming.com has pointers to many articles about literate programming, literate programs to download, and a variety of literate programming systems; many refinements have been made since Knuth’s original development of the idea.

Other literate programs we know of that have been published as books include one on the implementation of the lcc compiler, which was written by Christopher Fraser and David Hanson and published as A Retargetable C Compiler: Design and Implementation (Fraser and Hanson 1995). See also Hanson’s book on program interface design (Hanson 1996), Mehlhorn and Näher’s presentation on the implementation of the LEDA library (Mehlhorn and Näher 1999), Valiente’s collection of graph algorithms (Valiente 2002), and Ruckert’s description of the mp3 audio format (Ruckert 2005).


  1. Fraser, C., and D. Hanson. 1995. A Retargetable C Compiler: Design and Implementation. Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley.
  2. Hanson, D. R. 1996. C Interfaces and Implementations: Techniques for Creating Reusable Software. Boston, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley Longman.
  3. Knuth, D. E. 1984. Literate programming. The Computer Journal 27, 97–111. Reprinted in D. E. Knuth, Literate Programming, Stanford Center for the Study of Language and Information, 1992.
  4. Knuth, D. E. 1986. MetaFont: The Program. Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley.
  5. Knuth, D. E. 1993a. TEX : The Program. Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley.
  6. Knuth, D. E. 1993b. The Stanford GraphBase. New York: ACM Press and Addison-Wesley.
  7. Knuth, D. E. 1999. MMIXware: A RISC Computer for the Third Millennium. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.
  8. Knuth, D. E., and S. Levy. 1994. The CWEB System of Structured Documentation: Version 3.0. Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley.
  9. Mehlhorn, K., and S. Näher. 1999. LEDA: A Platform for Combinatorial and Geometric Computing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  10. Reinhard, E., G. Ward, P. Debevec, S. Pattanaik, W. Heidrich, and K. Myszkowski. 2010. High Dynamic Range Imaging: Acquisition, Display, and Image-Based Lighting. San Francisco: Morgan Kaufmann.
  11. Ruckert, M. 2005. Understanding MP3. Wiesbaden, Germany: GWV-Vieweg.
  12. Valiente, G. 2002. Algorithms on Trees and Graphs, Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag.