Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Archive for March 30th, 2013

“It’s not one particular clever trick…”

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John Warnock

It’s not one particular clever trick…I’ve been in the business since 1963, so I’ve been writing programs for more than twenty years. With lots of experience you collect hundreds of algorithms over the years; you remember tricks you’ve learned, you remember bugs you’ve had, and blind alleys you’ve gone down. You remember all the things you’ve done wrong and all the things that have worked out well. It’s a matter of picking and choosing from that smorgasbord to make a good menu, so to speak, to do a given task. You can have a great dish here and a great dish there, but together they may taste like dog food. Putting a meal together in a very delicate and sophisticated way is what makes a good cook. Putting the pieces of a program together in the same way is what makes a good computer programmer.

John Warnock, in Programmers at Work

Written by nevalalee

March 30, 2013 at 9:50 am

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