Favorite Programming Quotes 2008

When I am not coding I am reading about code. Here is a short list of memerable programming quotes I read over the past year about the science and art of software development. If find this collection of software development quotes useful you may also want to browse my all time Favorite Programming Quotes and Juixe TechKnow Software Quotes 2008.

If you are spending more time writing code than thinking about what code you should write – you are doing something wrong. Very wrong. Or it’s something trivial enough to not be of much importance. Or it’s Java.
Developing at the speed of thought

Those who do not understand Unix are condemned to reinvent it, poorly.
Henry Spencer

Evolution always seems to win out over revolution when it comes to technology.
Rick Hightower

C++ is popular because it is like C. Java is popular because it is like C++ and C. C# is popular because it is like Java. See a pattern
Rick Hightower

Process makes us strong. … Process allows us to draw pretty charts and graphs on endless presentations.
Crystal Methodology

I really think types are the fundamental currency of Java, not strings.
Crazy Bob Lee

Don’t be a corporate programmer. They demand all of your creativity and trust none of your judgment.
Zed Shaw

I really think a major problem in our industry is that programmers turn their brains off when someone with a Ph.D. or who’s written a book makes a statement.
Zed Shaw

Don’t just fucking blog, but write some software and give it away. While the average person can only read a human language, the people you really need to hit with your message as a programmer are other coders.
Zed Shaw

The programmer who programs least, programs best.
Justin Etheredge

Well, it has been said over and over again that the tremendous cost of programming is caused by the fact that it is done by cheap labor, which makes it very expensive, and secondly that people rush into coding.
Dr. Edsger W. Dijkstra

The biggest issue on software teams is making sure everyone understands what everyone else is doing.
Martin Fowler

You should be 95% certain that a candidate would be a great hire before they ever set foot in an interview room.
Jeff Atwood

What software developers do best is learn.
Jeff Atwood

Saying you understand SQL is the best way of getting me to ask you to design a table to describe a hierarchical structure or give a talk on concurrency.
Clinton Pierce

For instance, ideas at Google do not burst forth from the heads of geniuses and then find their way unimpeded to huge audiences of receptive users. Rather ideas emerge, are torn to shreds, reformulated, torn to shreds, prototyped, torn to shreds, launched to internal users, torn to shreds, rebuilt and relaunched, torn to shreds, refined some more, torn to shreds, put back together one last time, torn to shreds by SREs, tweaked again in a seemingly-endless frenzy of last minute work, and launched…whereupon they are torn to shreds by bloggers, journalists, and competitors. The magic of Google is that tearing to shreds…
Kevin Scott

why is it that the software development industry, which has all these awesome ways of sharing what has previously been done, constantly finds itself reinventing the wheel?
Robert Fischer

Building Facebook Applications is not a business plan, unless you are a web developer who does freelance Facebook application development. It is the McDonalds equivalent of a business plan. Quick, cheap, greasy and ultimately unfulfilling.
Jevon MacDonald

Software is error-ridden in part because of its growing complexity. The size of software products is no longer measured in thousands of lines of code, but in millions. Software developers already spend approximately 80 percent of development costs on identifying and correcting defects, and yet few products of any type other than software are shipped with such high levels of errors.
National Institute of Standards and Technology

While machines have changed enormously, the business of software development has been rather static. We still spend most of our time working n requirements and specification, the low-tech part of our work.
Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister

Productivity within the software industry has improved by three to five percent a year, only marginally better than the steel or automobile industry.
Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister

Count on the best people outperforming the worst by about 10:1. Count on the best performer being about 2.5 times better than the median performer.
Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister

People who had ten years of experience did not outperform those with two years of experience.
Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister

There was a very weak relationship between salary and performance.
Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister

The business we’re in is more sociological then technological, more dependent on workers’ abilities to communicate with each other than their abilities to communicate with machines.
Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister

Having a resume begs for you to go into that big machine that looks for relevant keywords, and begs for you to get a job as a cog in a giant machine.
seth Godin

The flip side of code ownership is code responsibility.
Jeff Atwood

The First Rule of Programming: It’s Always Your Fault
Jeff Atwood

Stop being a software factory, write a software factory.
Richard Campbell

Programming books sold by weight, not by volume.
Jeff Atwood

People who talk big about scalability don’t need to worry about it
Ted Dziuba

Dude, your app isn’t having scalability problems because of the architecture. It’s having scalability problems because you coded a ton of N^2 loops into it and you’re too self-important to get peer reviews on your commits.
Ted Dziuba

If you haven’t discussed capacity planning, you can’t discuss scalability
Ted Dziuba

Unless you know what you need to scale to, you can’t even begin to talk about scalability.
Ted Dziuba

Choosing technology don’t mean shit if you don’t know how to use it
Ted Dziuba

Buying new software should require product research, multiple demos, on-site testing, reference checking, and planning
Gene Marks

The bottleneck in writing code isn’t in the writing of the code, it’s in understanding and conceptualising what needs to be done.
Shane Legg

I use a variety of languages, tools, and OSes, and my choice of which to use are all geared around a single end goal: not to promote my own social or political agenda, but to make my customer happy.
Ted Neward

For all those who don’t get it, languages don’t scale, architectures do.
Blaine Cook

Faster means cheaper, it doesn’t mean more scalable.
Blaine Cook

We are not solving problems, we are approximating solutions.
Sean Parent

All problems of scale become a network problem.
Sean Parent

Programming in of itself is just an activity, like brushing your teeth. In the same way brushing your teeth doesn’t make you a dentist, writing code doesn’t make you an engineer, artist, or scientist.
Christopher Diggins

If you want to create a memorable company, you have to fill your company with memorable people.
Bill Taylor

From what I’ve seen of it, PHP isn’t so much a language as a random collection of arbitrary stuff, a virtual explosion at the keyword and function factory.
Jeff Atwood

All the PHP code I’ve seen in that experience has been messy, unmaintainable crap. Spaghetti SQL wrapped in spaghetti PHP wrapped in spaghetti HTML, replicated in slightly-varying form in dozens of places.
Tim Bray

One day, you may need a super-scalable architecture to keep up with the traffic. But before that, it’s more important to focus on building a great software that makes people happy.
Jerry Luk

The Golden Rule of Data Manipulation: It is always easier and more flexible to combine data elements rather than to break them apart.
Jeff Smith

Is the community around a product more important than the product itself?
Jeff Atwood

Most programming languages contain good parts and bad parts. I discovered that I could be better programmer by using only the good parts and avoiding the bad parts.
Douglas Crockford

It turns out that strong typing does not eliminate the need for careful testing. And I have found in my work that the sorts of errors that strong type checking finds are no the errors I worry about.
Douglas Crockford

Obsolete comments are worse than no comments.
Douglas Crockford

Generally, the craft of programming is the factoring of a set of requirements into a set of functions and data structures.
Douglas Crockford

Software is usually expected to be modified over the course of its productive life. The process of converting one correct program into a different correct program is extremely challenging.
Douglas Crockford

It turns out that style matters in programming for the same reason that it matters in writing. It makes for better reading.
Douglas Crockford

Features have a specification cost, a design cost, and a development cost. There is a testing cost and a reliability cost. … Features have a documentation cost. Every feature adds pages to the manual increasing training costs.
Douglas Crockford

Features that offer value to a minority of users impose a cost on all users.
Douglas Crockford

The worst interview question is the question taken out of context.
Sasha Goldshtein

Efficiency and quality are of equal importance!! Both come from experience, not from study. Study as you go, don’t assume that you’re ready for the real world because you studied first.
Jon Davis

The [iPhone] SDK has more restrictions than Guantanamo.
Matt Buchanan

Closures are the new web framework, everybody wants one.
Dick Wall

I admit it, programming pleases me sexually.
Daniel Fischer

It’s as easy to hire great Ruby programmers as it is to hire great Java programmers or great programmers for any given popular language. The problem is, it’s not easy to hire great programmers in any language.
Jay Fields

50% of all people doing business software development should find a new profession.
Jay Fields

Creativity is your most important asset in development, and the first one to go with sleep deprivation.
Daniel Haran

The art of programming is finding patterns where others see only chaos.
Eric Filson

The chief cause of problems is solutions.
Eric Severeid

The user is NOT a lower life form
Ken Becker

True interactivity is not about clicking on icons or downloading files, it’s about encouraging communication.
Ed Scholssberg

The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.
Bertrand Russell

A picture is worth a thousand words. An interface is worth a thousand pictures.
Ben Shneiderman

The joy of an early release lasts but a short time. The bitterness of an unusable system lasts for years.
Anonymous Release Engineer

If we want users to like our software, we should design it to behave like a likeable person.
Alan Cooper

Any darn fool can make something complex; it takes a genius to make something simple.
Albert Einstein

Never use a warning when you mean undo.
Aza Raskin

If you need the approval of the platform vendor to ship an app, then it isn’t a platform.
Dave Winer

Marketing has long known how to exploit fads and how to develop trends.
Geoffrey Moore

As a buying group, visionaries are easy to sell but very hard to please. This is because they are buying a dream – which, to some degree, will alwasy be a dream.
Geoffrey Moore

The biggest problem is typically overly ambitious expectations combined with undercapitalization.
Geoffrey Moore

To enter the maintsteam market is an act of aggression. The companies who have already established relationships with your target customer will resent your intrusion and do everything they can to shut you out.
Geoffrey Moore

The sooner you start to code, the longer the program will take.
Roy Carlson

If the code and the comments disagree, then both are probably wrong.
Norm Schryer

If you have too many special cases, you are doing it wrong.
Craig Zerouni

Testing can show the presence of bugs, not their absence.
Edsger W. Dijkstra

Each new user of a new system uncovers a new class of bugs.
Brian Kernighan

The fastest algorithm can frequently be replaced by one that is almost as fast and much easier to understand.
Douglas W. Jones

Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement.
Fred Brooks

Whenever possible, steal code.
Tom Duff

I would rather write programs to help me write programs than write programs.
Dick Sites

Furious activity is no substitute for understanding.
H.H. Williams

One person’s constant is another person’s variable.
Susan Gerhart

One person’s data is another person’s program.
Guy L. Steele, Jr.

The computer industry is the only industry that is more fashion-driven than women’s fashion.
Larry Ellison

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4 Responses to “Favorite Programming Quotes 2008”

  • Radoslav Stankov Says:

    Really nice collection. I too collect some interesting qoutes. Yesterday I saw some qoutes from Thomas Edison, not for coding, but can be applied to it :)
    – I never perfected an invention that I did not think about in terms of the service it might give others.
    – I have more respect for the fellow with a single idea who gets there than for the fellow with a thousand ideas who does nothing.
    – Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.

  • Enfranchised Mind » I’m Famous! Says:

    […] me with the likes of Ted Neward, Jeff Atwood, Martin Fowler, and Zed “Fucking” Shaw: Favorite Programming Quotes 2008. That’s a pretty high honor, even if the credit is just for […]

  • Daniel Fischer Says:

    Ha, thanks for including me. Haha, I can’t believe I said that – though… on the other hand… hah.

  • Yelhsa Says:

    Inofrmtaion is power and now I’m a !@#$ing dictator.

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