Code For Humans

Any fool can write code that a computer can understand. Good programmers write code that humans can understand. [Martin Fowler]

Programs must be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute. [Abelson / Sussman]

Instead of imagining that our main task is to instruct a computer what to to, let us concentrate rather on explaining to human beings what we want a computer to do. [Donald Knuth]

Good code is its own best documentation. As you’re about to add a comment, ask yourself, ‘How can I improve the code so that this comment isn’t needed?’ Improve the code and then document it to make it even clearer. [Steve McConnel]

Design and programming are human activities; forget that and all is lost. [Bjarne Stroustrup]

Increasingly, people seem to misinterpret complexity as sophistication, which is baffling — the incomprehensible should cause suspicion rather than admiration. [Niklaus Wirth]

There are two ways of constructing a software design: One way is to make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies, and the other way is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies. The first method is far more difficult. [C.A.R. Hoare]

Always code as if the person who ends up maintaining your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live. [Anonymous]

A charlatan makes obscure what is clear; a thinker makes clear what is obscure. [Hugh Kingsmil]

To design is to communicate cleary by whatever means you can control or master [Milton Glaser]

Why Fighting Software Entropy Is Worth It

Conceptual integrity is the most important consideration in system design. [Frederick P. Brooks]

Study after study shows that the very best designers produce structures that are faster, smaller, simpler, clearer, and produced with less effort. [Frederick P. Brooks]

… with proper design, the features come cheaply. This approach is arduous, but continues to succeed. [Dennis Ritchie]

The need to minimize software cost] suggests that large-program structure must not only be created but must also be maintained if decay is to be avoided or postponed. [Belady and Lehman]

All repairs tend to destroy the structure, to increase the entropy and disorder of the system. […] Although in principle usable forever, the system has worn out as a base for progress. [Frederick P. Brooks]

Attitude Adjustment

Writing code … is not an exercise in manliness. [Mark Hahn ]

Unformed people delight in the gaudy and in novelty. Cooked people delight in the ordinary. [Erik Naggum]

The competent programmer is fully aware of the strictly limited size of his own skull; therefore he approaches the programming task in full humility, and among other things he avoids clever tricks like the plague. [Edsger Dijkstra]

The State of the Art

Most software today is very much like an Egyptian pyramid with millions of bricks piled on top of each other, with no structural integrity, but just done by brute force and thousands of slaves. [Alan Kay]

No matter what the problem is, it’s always a people problem. [Gerald M. Weinberg]

Experience doesn’t necessarily teach anything. [Gerald M. Weinberg]

Somewhat Unrelated

Unix was not designed to stop people from doing stupid things, because that would also stop them from doing clever things. [Doug Gwyn]

The designer of a new kind of system must participate fully in the implementation. [Donald E. Knuth]

The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. [Bertrand Russell]

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