All Programming Quotes

Programming Quote


Windows NT addresses 2 Gigabytes of RAM, which is more than any application will ever need.
Microsoft, on the development of Windows NT, 1992

98.5% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

In the one and only true way. The object-oriented version of ‚Spaghetti code‘ is, of course, ‚Lasagna code‘. (Too many layers).
Roberto Waltman

I � Unicode

It’s not worth doing something unless someone, somewhere, would much rather you weren’t doing it.
Sir Terry Pratchett

A program that produces incorrect results twice as fast is infinitely slower.
John Osterhout

Deleted code is debugged code.
Jeff Sickel

The competent programmer is fully aware of the limited size of his own skull. He therefore approaches his task with full humility, and avoids clever tricks like the plague.
Edsger W. Dijkstra

Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the universe trying to build bigger and better idiots. So far, the universe is winning.
Rick Cook

When someone says, “I want a programming language in which I need only say what I want done,” give him a lollipop.
Alan Perlis

The best thing about a boolean is even if you are wrong, you are only off by a bit.

Someday ImageMagick will finally break for good and we’ll have a long period of scrambling as we try to reassemble civilization from the rubble.Randall Munroe

I remember a particular post-prandial PowerPoint presentation where I was one of only two survivors (and the other wasn’t entirely human). However, this is the first time I’ve seen a Word document eat a man’s soul.
Charles Stross

// Decimal constant for value of 1
static constant float THIRTY = 30.0f;


Life would be much easier if I had the source code.

The first rule of functions is that they should be small. The second rule of functions is that they should be smaller than that.
Robert C. Martin

And that, by the way, is the cure for imposter syndrome: realize that the world is full of successful morons, so no matter how much of a moron you think you are, you’re entitled to whatever success you have.
Remy Porter

If debugging is the process of removing software bugs, then programming must be the process of putting them in.
Edsger W. Dijkstra

When I was running a software company, we always knew it would take one great programmer to solve a hard problem in one night versus 10 mediocre programmers taking a month to screw up a problem even worse.
James Altucher, Reinvent Yourself

The computer programmer is a creator of universes for which he alone is the lawgiver. No playwright, no stage director, no emperor, however powerful, has ever exercised such absolute authority to arrange a stage or field of battle and to command such unswervingly dutiful actors or troops.
Joseph Weizenbaum

It should be noted that no ethically trained software engineer would ever consent to write a DestroyBaghdad() procedure. Basic professional ethics would instead require him to write a DestroyCity() procedure, to which Baghdad could be given as a parameter.
Nathaniel S Borenstein

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

I am going to a commune in Vermont and will deal with no unit of time shorter than a season.
Resignation Notice from a Data General engineer. The Soul of a New Machine

The generation of random numbers is too important to be left to chance.
Robert R. Coveyou

The only thing more expensive than writing software is writing bad software
Alan Cooper

So much complexity in software comes from trying to make one thing do two things.
Ryan Singer

Software is like sex: it’s better when it’s free.
Linus Torvalds

Measuring programmer productivity by lines of code is like measuring aircraft by weight.
Bill Gates

Incorrect documentation is often worse than no documentation.
Bertrand Meyer

Portability is for canoes.
Jim McCarthy, Dynamics of Software Development

There are only two kinds of software projects: failures and future legacy horrors.
Peter Weinberger

There are two major products that come out of Berkeley: LSD and UNIX. We don’t believe this to be a coincidence.
Jeremy S. Anderson

There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.
Ken Olson, President, Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977

Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it.
Donald E. Knuth

If we’d asked the customers what they wanted, they would have said “faster horses”
Henry Ford

As soon as we started programming, we found to our surprise that it wasn’t as easy to get programs right as we had thought. Debugging had to be discovered. I can remember the exact instant when I realized that a large part of my life from then on was going to be spent in finding mistakes in my own programs.
Maurice Wilkes discovers debugging

Mostly, when you see programmers, they aren’t doing anything. One of the attractive things about programmers is that you cannot tell whether or not they are working simply by looking at them. Very often they’re sitting there seemingly drinking coffee and gossiping, or just staring into space. What the programmer is trying to do is get a handle on all the individual and unrelated ideas that are scampering around in his head.
Charles M. Strauss


Heuristic is an algorithm in a clown suit.
Steve McConnell, Code Complete

We are looking at a society increasingly dependent on machines, yet decreasingly capable of making or even using them effectively.
Douglas Rushkoff, Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age

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

There are only two industries that refer to their customers as ‘users’.
Edward Tufte

You see, programmers tend to be arrogant, self-absorbed introverts. We didn’t get into this business because we like people. Most of us got into programming because we prefer to deeply focus on sterile minutia, juggle lots of concepts simultaneously, and in general prove to ourselves that we have brains the size of a planet, all while not having to interact with the messy complexities of other people.
Robert C Martin

Normal people believe that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain’t broke, it doesn’t have enough features yet.
Scott Adams

How many software developers does it take to change a lightbulb? None, it’s a hardware problem.
Laura Griffin, Deep Dark

Hofstadter’s Law: It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.
Douglas Hofstadter

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.
Tony Hoare

Bugs will happen. They cannot be eliminated, so they must be survived instead.
Michael T. Nygard, Release It!

If you run a business of any size, you need some sort of resource-management/planning software. Really small businesses use Excel. Medium businesses use Excel. Enterprises use Excel. But in addition to that, the large businesses also pay through the nose for a gigantic ERP system, like Oracle or SAP, that they can wire up to Excel.
Remy Porter

Any politician caught spouting off about back doors is unfit for office anywhere but Hogwarts, which is also the only educational institution whose computer science department believes in “golden keys” that only let the right sort of people break your encryption.
Cory Doctorow

You Can’t Write Perfect Software. Did that hurt? It shouldn’t. Accept it as an axiom of life. Embrace it. Celebrate it. Because perfect software doesn’t exist. No one in the brief history of computing has ever written a piece of perfect software. It’s unlikely that you’ll be the first. And unless you accept this as a fact, you’ll end up wasting time and energy chasing an impossible dream.
Andrew Hunt

The programmer, like the poet, works only slightly removed from pure thought-stuff. He builds his castles in the air, from air, creating by exertion of the imagination.
Frederick P. Brooks

I feel very comfortable talking in nanoseconds. I sit at one of these analyzers and nanoseconds are wide. I mean, you can see them go by. “Jesus,” I say, “that signal takes twelve nanoseconds to get from there to there.” Those are real big things to me when I’m building a computer. Yet when I think about it, how much longer it takes to snap your fingers, I’ve lost track of what a nanosecond really means.” He paused. “Time in a computer is an interesting concept.”
The Soul of a New Machine

Any program is a model of a model within a theory of a model of an abstraction of some portion of the world or of some universe of discourse
Meir M Lehmann

Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window.
Steve Wozniak

Simplicity is hard to build, easy to use, and hard to charge for. Complexity is easy to build, hard to use, and easy to charge for.
Chris Sacca

I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

There is an obvious resemblance between an unreadable script and a secret code; similar methods can be employed to break both. But the differences must not be overlooked. The code is deliberately designed to baffle the investigator; the script is only puzzling by accident.
John Chadwick, The Decipherment of Linear B

Beauty is more important in computing than anywhere else in technology because software is so complicated. Beauty is the ultimate defence against complexity.
David Gelernter

Programming is like kicking yourself in the face, sooner or later your nose will bleed.
Kyle Woodbury

To iterate is human, to recurse divine.
L. Peter Deutsch

If you think your users are idiots, only idiots will use it.
Linus Thorwalds

We do not reverse engineer programs because C compilers create good literature
Travis Goodspeed

If you want to lose weight, don’t buy a new scale; change your diet. If you want to improve your software, don’t test more; develop better.
Steve McConnell Code Complete

Computer science education cannot make anybody an expert programmer any more than studying brushes and pigment can make somebody an expert painter.
Eric S. Raymond

Hardware: The parts of a computer system that can be kicked.
Jeff Pesis

The trick is to fix the problem you have, rather than the problem you want.
Bram Cohen

Any fool can use a computer. Many do.
Ted Nelson

The city’s central computer told you? R2D2, you know better than to trust a strange computer!

Truth can only be found in one place: the code.
Robert C Martin

I think Microsoft named .Net so it wouldn’t show up in a Unix directory listing.

If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t matter how fast it doesn’t work.
Mich Ravera

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

The browser is a really hostile programming environment.
Douglas Crockford, The JavaScript Programming Language (video lecture)

Get the girl to do it. I want this human computer to check the output of the electronic computer, and if she says they’re good, you know, I’m good to go.
John Glenn

One of my most productive days was throwing away 1000 lines of code.
Ken Thompson

Adatran, Ada spoken with a heavy accent of FORTRAN.
Kevlin Henney

Good design adds value faster than it adds cost.
Thomas C. Gale

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
Robert A Heinlein

I am rarely happier than when spending an entire day programming my computer to perform automatically a task that would otherwise take me a good ten seconds to do by hand.
Douglas Adams, Last Chance to See

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.
Frederick P. Brooks

Documentation is like term insurance: It satisfies because almost no one who subscribes to it depends on its benefits.
Alan J Perlis

„The Principle of Least Surprise“ describes a general approach to software that celebrates sanity over cleverness.
Matt Thompson

First, solve the problem. Then, write the code.
John Johnson

In software systems it is often the early bird that makes the worm.
Alan J Perlis

The plural of anecdote is not data
Matt Dillahunty

Measuring programming progress by lines of code is like measuring aircraft building progress by weight.
Bill Gates

Technologists want solutions; policy makers want consensus.
Bruce Schneier

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think „I know, I’ll use regular expressions.“ Now they have two problems.
Jamie Zawinski alt.religion.emacs

Walking on water and developing software from a specification are easy if both are frozen.
Edward V Berard

Below the surface of the machine, the program moves. Without effort, it expands and contracts. In great harmony, electrons scatter and regroup. The forms on the monitor are but ripples on the water. The essence stays invisibly below.
Master Yuan-Ma, The Book of Programming

Yuan-Ma said, ‘When you cut against the grain of the wood, much strength is needed. When you program against the grain of a problem, much code is needed.
Master Yuan-Ma, The Book of Programming

The most effective debugging tool is still careful thought, coupled with judiciously placed print statements.
Brian W. Kernighan

Any code of your own that you haven’t looked at for six or more months might as well have been written by someone else.
Eagleson’s law

FTP is a legacy technology, and legacy technologies are like herpes: you might have had fun when it was getting installed, you probably went years without thinking about it, but when it goes wrong you regret everything, and you are never going to get rid of it.
Remy Porter

There are three problems in computer science: Naming, cache consistency and off-by-one-errors.

I have found that the reason a lot of people are interested in artificial intelligence is the same reason a lot of people are interested in artificial limbs: they are missing one.
David Parnas

One of my most productive days was throwing away 1000 lines of code.
Ken Thompson

The most disastrous thing that you can ever learn is your first programming language.
Alan Kay

Wise man does not keep sledge hammer and slow computer in same room.
Not really Konfuzius

640K ought to be enough for anybody.
Bill Gates, 1981

That’s the thing about people who think they hate computers. What they really hate is lousy programmers.
Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle Oath of Fealty

The things we read watch us read them. The things we listen to, listen to us listen to them. We are tracked, we are monitored, we are predicted by the media we use… our media consume us
Eben Moglen

It is easy to say that a piece of code is badly written. It is easy to complain or even laugh. But the question is: are you good enough to make it better?
Sandro Mancuso

The universal aptitude for ineptitude makes any human accomplishment an incredible miracle.
Colonel John Paul Stapp

Machine learning is either magic cleverly disguised as math, or math cleverly disguised as magic.
Seth Grove

The trouble with programmers is that you can never tell what a programmer is doing until it’s too late.
Seymour Cray

Shor’s factoring algorithm is a large, dry, stale, and weighty fruitcake recipe of classical number theory – embedded with the hard candied citron of Euclid’s greates common divisor algorithm and the bitter brazil nuts of the chinese remainder theory – that is then delightfully iced with a bit of light and fluffy quantum frosting.
Johnathan Dowling

In God we trust, all others must bring data.
W. Edwards Deming

Randall Munroe

Don’t comment bad code—rewrite it.
Brian W Kernighan

Clean code always looks like it was written by someone who cares.
Robert C Martin

Every methodology I’ve come across has, at its kernel, a very small section labelled “do magic here”.

Perfection [in design] is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

A programmer was arrested for writing unreadable code. He refused to comment.

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, 1980 ACM Turing Award Lecture

As a software developer, you are your own worst enemy. The sooner you realize that, the better off you’ll be.
Jeff Atwood

There are only two kinds of programming languages: those people always bitch about and those nobody uses.
Bjarne Stroustrup

When the Lisa team was pushing to finalize their software in 1982, project managers started requiring programmers to submit weekly forms reporting on the number of lines of code they had written. Bill Atkinson thought that was silly. For the week in which he had rewritten QuickDraw’s region calculation routines to be six times faster and 2000 lines shorter, he put “-2000″ on the form. After a few more weeks the managers stopped asking him to fill out the form, and he gladly complied.

Documentation is like term insurance: It satisfies because almost no one who subscribes to it depends on its benefits.
Alan J Perlis

Exponential growth: Everything is fine, right up until it isn’t.

I don’t care if it works on your machine! We are not shipping your machine!
Vidiu Platon

Haskell is faster than C++, more concise than Perl, more regular than Python, more flexible than Ruby, more typeful than C#, more robust than Java, and has absolutely nothing in common with PHP.
Autrijus Tang

You should name a variable using the same care with which you name a first-born child.
Robert C Martin

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 Kernighan and P.J. Plauger, The Elements of Programming Style

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

Give a man a program, frustrate him for a day.
Teach a man to program, frustrate him for a lifetime.
Waseem Latif

Ever since the first computers, there have always been ghosts in the machine. Random segments of code that have grouped together to form unexpected protocols. Unanticipated, these free radicals engender questions of free will, creativity, and even the nature of what we might call the soul.
Dr. Isaac Asimov

Randall Munroe

Most of you are familiar with the virtues of a programmer. There are three, of course: laziness, impatience, and hubris.
Larry Wall

If you want to get it smooth, you’ve got to rewrite it from scratch at least five times
Bill Atkinson

In my egotistical opinion, most people’s C programs should be indented six feet downward and covered with dirt.
Blair P. Houghton

Without requirements or design, programming is the art of adding bugs to an empty text file.
Louis Srygley

Well, Mr. Frankel, who started this program, began to suffer from the computer disease that anybody who works with computers now knows about. It’s a very serious disease and it interferes completely with the work. The trouble with computers is you *play* with them. They are so wonderful. You have these switches – if it’s an even number you do this, if it’s an odd number you do that – and pretty soon you can do more and more elaborate things if you are clever enough, on one machine.

After a while the whole system broke down. Frankel wasn’t paying any attention; he wasn’t supervising anybody. The system was going very, very slowly – while he was sitting in a room figuring out how to make one tabulator automatically print arc-tangent X, and then it would start and it would print columns and then bitsi, bitsi, bitsi, and calculate the arc-tangent automatically by integrating as it went along and make a whole table in one operation.

Absolutely useless. We *had* tables of arc-tangents. But if you’ve ever worked with computers, you understand the disease – the *delight* in being able to see how much you can do. But he got the disease for the first time, the poor fellow who invented the thing.
Richard Feynman, Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
Leonardo da Vinci

A blurry cellphone photo of an error on the screen, imported to the computer via emailing it to themselves, pasted sideways into a word document and emailed to the helpdesk address.

Randall Munroe

The management question, therefore, is not whether to build a pilot system and throw it away. You will do that. The only question is whether to plan in advance to build a throwaway, or to promise to deliver the throwaway to customers.
Frederick P. Brooks

My definition of an expert in any field is a person who knows enough about what’s really going on to be scared.
P. J. Plauger, Computer Language, March 1983

The best programs are written so that computing machines can perform them quickly and so that human beings can understand them clearly. A programmer is ideally an essayist who works with traditional aesthetic and literary forms as well as mathematical concepts, to communicate the way that an algorithm works and to convince a reader that the results will be correct.
Donald E Knuth, Selected Papers on Computer Science

When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not price.
Richard M Stallman

I have always wished for my computer to be as easy to use as my telephone; my wish has come true because I can no longer figure out how to use my telephone.
Bjarne Stroustrup

It’s called „reading“ It’s how people install new software into their brains.
Scott A. Becker

Why did the Roman Empire collapse? What is the Latin for office automation?
Alan J Perlis

They don’t make bugs like Bunny anymore.
Olav Mjelde

It would appear that we have reached the limits of what it is possible to achieve with computer technology, although one should be careful with such statements, as they tend to sound pretty silly in 5 years.
John Von Neumann, circa 1949

The original ARM instruction set was so pure that it was trivially learned in an afternoon – unlike the Z80 which took at least a weekend. Then I got exposed to the 68k, and I’m still in therapy.

Debugging time increases as a square of the program’s size.
Chris Wenham

Software sucks because users demand it to.
Nathan Myhrvold

Tzu-li and Tzu-ssu were boasting about the size of their latest programs. ‘Two-hundred thousand lines,’ said Tzu-li, ‘not counting comments!’ Tzu-ssu responded, ‘Pssh, mine is almost a million lines already.’ Master Yuan-Ma said, ‘My best program has five hundred lines.’ Hearing this, Tzu-li and Tzu-ssu were enlightened.
Master Yuan-Ma, The Book of Programming

It is easier to port a shell than a shell script.
Larry Wall

The use of COBOL cripples the mind; its teaching should therefore be regarded as a criminal offense.
E.W. Dijkstra

A C program is like a fast dance on a newly waxed dance floor by people carrying razors.
Waldi Ravens

Sorry, I can’t do that Dave.

In programming the hard part isn’t solving problems, but deciding what problems to solve.
Paul Graham

What I cannot build, I do not understand.
Richard Feynman

I’ve finally learned what ‘upward compatible’ means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes.
Dennie van Tassel

99 little bugs in the tracker, 99 little bugs. Take one down, patch it around, 175 bugs in the tracker!

I always like seeing NSA-designed cryptography (particularly its key schedules). It’s like examining alien technology.
Bruce Schneier

The key, the whole key, and nothing but the key, so help me Codd
Slogan for database-normalization

Every good work of software starts by scratching a developer’s personal itch.
Eric S. Raymond

The rest was simple software, secrets whispered
to sand that made it do tasks over and over, with
just a little more power to keep the sand thinking.
Matthew Peters

Bus factor (noun): the number of people that need to get hit by a bus before your project is completely doomed.
Brian W. Fitzpatrick, Team Geek: A Software Developer’s Guide to Working Well with Others

When you’re designing for extremes with software, the three most important „extremes“ to remember are:
1. Design for people who can’t read.
2. Design for people who can’t use a mouse.
3. Design for people who have such bad memories they would forget their own name if it weren’t embossed on their American Express
Joel Spolsky, User Interface Design for Programmers

The difference between screwing around and science is writing it down.
Adam Savage

Girls practically invented programming,” she said. “Jean Bartik, Marlyn Wescoff, Fran Bilas—they all programmed ENIAC.” I had no idea what she was talking about. “And don’t forget Margaret Hamilton. She wrote the software that let Apollo 11 land on the moon.” “I meant programming video games,” I said. “Dona Bailey, Centipede. Brenda Romero, Wizardry. Roberta Williams, King’s Quest. She designed her first computer game at the kitchen table. I interviewed her for school last year.
Jason Rekulak, The Impossible Fortress

Python’s a drop-in replacement for BASIC in the sense that Optimus Prime is a drop-in replacement for a truck.
Cory Dodt

The „S“ in IoT stands for „security“

Any application that can be written in Javascript will eventually be written in Javascript.
Jeff Atwood

When in doubt, use brute force.
Ken Thompson

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

Remember that there is no code faster than no code.
Taligent’s Guide to Designing Programs

A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any invention in human history–with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila.
Mitch Radcliffe

A distributed system is one in which the failure of a computer you didn’t even know existed can render your own computer unusable.
Leslie Lamport

It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

If I were forced to sum up in one sentence what the Copenhagen interpretation says to me, it would be ‚Shut up and calculate!‘.
Davif Mermin

Randall Munroe

Great software today is often preferable to perfect software tomorrow.
Andrew Hunt

Code never lies, comments sometimes do.
Ron Jeffries

Premature optimization is the root of all evil in programming.
Tony Hoare

We kill people based on metadata
Michael Vincent Hayden