While the last post had my own sayings, this one has some of my favorite programming quotes from others. Even the first part of the title is from the late Frederik Pohl.
- "Don’t just echo the code with comments – make every comment count."
"Make sure comments and code agree."
- "Don’t comment bad code – rewrite it."
— "The Elements of Programming Style" by Kernighan and Plauger, 1974
- "It’s important to communicate what the code should be doing.” – Joe Kunk
- “It’s hard enough to find an error in your code when you’re looking for it; it’s even harder when you’ve assumed your code is error-free.” – Steve McConnell
- “If debugging is the process of removing software bugs, then programming must be the process of putting them in. ” – Edsger Dijkstra
- “Walking on water and developing software from a specification are easy if both are frozen.” – Edward V. Berard
- “First, solve the problem. Then, write the code.” – John Johnson
- “Should array indices start at 0 or 1? My compromise of 0.5 was rejected without, I thought, proper consideration.” – Stan Kelly-Bootle
- “Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live.” – unknown (attributed to John F. Woods, Rick Osborne, Martin Golding)
- “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
- “Computers are good at following instructions, but not at reading your mind. ” – Donald Knuth
- “Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning.” – Rick Cook, The Wizardry Compiled
- „Do unto the next developer as you would have them do unto you“ – Joe Kunk
There is nothing worse than a programmer who compiles the spec into the code, without asking “could the workflow be better?”, “could this be a bug in spec?” or even “does this make any sense whatsoever?”
(on Robert Martin’s “Clean Code”) “Clean Code” doesn’t tell you how to write good code, nor maintainable code. Instead, it teaches you to write consultant code, or “cuckoo code”: you drop a nice shiny egg into the nest and fly away, leaving others to maintain the ugly monster that hatches.
If you are looking at your own code from two years ago and it looks fine, it doesn’t mean you were a good programmer two years ago. Quite the opposite, it means you haven’t grown as a programmer within these two years. You haven’t learned anything.
Code review is like a pair of pants. If you work at home, pants are optional. But if you are in public, you’d better make sure you have pants on, even if no one looks at you.
But what is there to love about the code? It is the same excitement that a poet gets from writing a poem, or a painter from painting. It is the act of creation, the “develop” part of the word “developer”. We write some lines of text, which abides to the certain rules, and suddenly ex nihilo! we have a website, a video player, a database engine or something else.
- If the comment does not match the code, it is the comment that is correct and code that is wrong.
I’ll post these mostly so I would remember them and re-use when appropriate.
I think these quotes are mine, from various blog posts, presentations and discussions. If I have inadvertently picked up or rephrased someone else’s text, please let me know in the comments.