My favourite programming quotes

I find myself thinking about some of these quotes every now and then and I just wanted to share them here. Some of them are kind of funny but mostly I believe they all should make us think for a second about our job and how many times you’ve been in that situation… If you have some pearl of wisdom please share it at the bottom leaving a comment. I will keep this page updated!

Premature optimization is the source of all evil

-Donald Knuth

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.

-C.A.R. Hoare, The 1980 ACM Turing Award Lecture

Any fool can write code that a computer can understand. Good programmers write code that humans can understand.

-Martin Fowler

Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it.

-Brian W. Kernighan and P. J. Plauger in The Elements of Programming Style.

[Most managers] may defend the schedule and requirements with passion; but that’s their job. It’s your job to defend the code with equal passion

-Robert Martin (Uncle Bob), Clean code

The first 90% of the code accounts for the first 90% of the development time. The remaining 10% of the code accounts for the other 90% of the development time

-Tom Cargil Bell labs

Before software can be reusable it first has to be usable.

-Ralph Johnson

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

-Rick Osborne

The best way to predict the future is to implement it.

-Alan Key

Talk is cheap. Show me the code.

-Linus Torvalds

Perl – The only language that looks the same before and after RSA encryption.

-Keith Bostic

I invented the term ‘Object-Oriented’, and I can tell you I did not have C++ in mind.

-Alan Kay

Most good programmers do programming not because they expect to get paid or get adulation by the public, but because it is fun to program.

-Linus Torvalds

Controlling complexity is the essence of computer programming.

-Brian Kernighan

Finally I’d like to throw one in there myself…

I lost count of how many times I’ve seen that quick, little, insignificant proof of concept going to production


Reference: My favourite programming quotes from our JCG partner Andrea Salvadore at the Development in progress blog.

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4 Responses to "My favourite programming quotes"

  1. Shadow Caster says:

    The Tom Cargill quote is not correct. It should say 10% of development time

    • Parry says:

      It states that most of the projects aren’t completed on schedule.

    • I think that’s the point. When you estimate, you tend to estimate the happy path and get about 90% of the way there when stuff starts going wrong — sometimes very wrong. As I understand the quote, it’s a way of saying that you typically wind up at 180% of what you estimated.

  2. William Mitlyng says:

    Just fun and perfect for the moment.

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