Marshall Bowers

Conjurer of code. Devourer of art. Pursuer of æsthetics.

Quotes

This is a collection of some of my favorite quotes on a variety of subjects.

Programming

A language that doesn't affect the way you think about programming, is not worth knowing.

— Alan Perlis


Make it work, make it right, make it fast.

— Kent Beck


For all the silly platitudes thrown around in our field, the exaltation of refactoring isn't one of them — aggressive and continuous refinement is the only path to beautiful, sustainable software.

Any code that ossifies after being first written is almost certainly bad code.

Brandur Leach


for each desired change, make the change easy (warning: this may be hard), then make the easy change

Kent Beck


It is practically impossible to teach good programming to students that have had a prior exposure to BASIC: as potential programmers they are mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration.

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

Edsger Dijkstra


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. Few media of creation are so flexible, so easy to polish and rework, so readily capable of realizing grand conceptual structures.

— Fred Brooks, The Mythical Man-Month


When people say "comments are bad" they mean "don't put information in comments if you can make it evident from the code". This is correct.

When they say "comments are good" they mean "take the higher-level thoughts you couldn't, and write those down too". This is also correct.

Gábor Lehel


Seven deadly sins [of programming]:

  1. Code even you cannot understand a week after you wrote it – no comments
  2. Code with no specifications
  3. Code that is shipped as soon as it runs and before it is beautiful
  4. Code with added features
  5. Code that is very very fast very very very obscure and incorrect
  6. Code that is not beautiful
  7. Code that you wrote without understanding the problem

Joe Armstrong, "The Mess We're In"

Dogma

What does it mean to be a revolutionary? To challenge an existing dogma, instead of complying with it: to reject its tenets, highlight its flaws and improve each of its shortcomings.

Umair Haque

Perfectionism

If your fidelity to perfectionism is too high, you never do anything.

— David Foster Wallace

People

We sometimes encounter people, even perfect strangers, who begin to interest us at first sight, somehow suddenly, all at once, before a word has been spoken.

— Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment


Now people are books to me. I read them from cover to cover and toss them aside. I devour them, one after the other. And the more I read, the more insatiable I become. There is no limit to it.

— Henry Miller, Tropic of Capricorn

Solitude

I enjoy controlled loneliness. I like wandering around the city alone. I’m not afraid of coming back to an empty flat and lying down in an empty bed. I’m afraid of having no one to miss, of having no one to love.

— Kuba Wojewódzki

America

What's great about this country is America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you can know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good.

— Andy Warhol