Epigrams on Programming

My favorite top ten epigrams, for more see http://www.cs.yale.edu/quotes.html

0. One man’s constant is another man’s variable

1. It is easier to write an incorrect program than understand a correct one.

2. If you have a procedure with ten parameters, you probably missed some.

3. A language that doesn’t affect the way you think about programming, is not worth knowing.

4. Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it.

5. You can’t communicate complexity, only an awareness of it.

6. Beware of the Turing tar-pit in which everything is possible but nothing of interest is easy.

7. In a 5 year period we get one superb programming language. Only we can’t control when the 5 year period will be.

8. In computing, the mean time to failure keeps getting shorter.

9. In programming, everything we do is a special case of something more general — and often we know it too quickly.

A. It is easier to change the specification to fit the program than vice versa.

B. Systems have sub-systems and sub-systems have sub- systems and so on ad infinitum – which is why we’re always starting over.

C. Everyone can be taught to sculpt: Michelangelo would have had to be taught not to. So it is with great programmers.

D. To understand a program you must become both the machine and the program.

E. Perhaps if we wrote programs from childhood on, as adults we’d be able to read them.

F. One can only display complex information in the mind. Like seeing, movement or flow or alteration of view is more important than the static picture, no matter how lovely.


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