Computing II

Entertaining and Sometimes Insightful Quotations

The following was taken from, which in turn took it from the defunct (I originally referred to this source, but it's gone now. This shows why URLs are not good enough for citations!)
Good code is its own best documentation. As you're about to add a comment, ask yourself, 'How can I improve the code so that this comment isn't needed?' Improve the code and then document it to make it even clearer.

– Steve McConnell [Code Complete]

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

– Bill Gates

I did say something along the lines of "C makes it easy to shoot yourself in the foot; C++ makes it harder, but when you do, it blows your whole leg off."

– Bjarne Stroustrup

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.

– Albert Einstein

You're bound to be unhappy if you optimize everything

– Donald Knuth

Theory is when you know something, but it doesn't work. Practice is when something works, but you don't know why. Programmers combine theory and practice: Nothing works and they don't know why.
Do not worry about your difficulties in mathematics, I assure you that mine are greater.

– Einstein

One of the main causes of the fall of the Roman Empire was that, lacking zero, they had no way to indicate successful termination of their C programs
I've finally learned what “upward compatible” means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes.

– Dennie van Tassel

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

A non-virtual function says, you have to do this and you must do it this way. A virtual function says you have to do this, but you don't have to do it this way. That's their fundamental difference.

– Scott Meyers

Copy and paste is a design error

– David Parnas

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

If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning.

– Catherine Aird

You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing — that's what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.

– Richard Feynman

The primary duty of an exception handler is to get the error out of the lap of the programmer and into the surprised face of the user. Provided you keep this cardinal rule in mind, you can't go far wrong.

– Verity Stob

Organizations which design systems are constrained to produce designs which are copies of the communication structures of these organizations.

– Conway’s Law (For example, if you have four groups working on a compiler, you’ll get a 4-pass compiler)

To understand recursion, you must first understand recursion.
When your hammer is C++, everything begins to look like a thumb.
First they ignore you. Then they laught about you. Then they fight you. And then you win.

– Mahatma Gandhi

The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.

– Albert Einstein

Even a stopped clock gives the right time twice a day.
Author: Mark A. Sheldon
Last Modified: 1 September 2009