Humane Programming

Interesting Quotes

...we want to establish the idea that a computer language is not just a way of getting a computer to perform operations but rather that it is a novel formal medium for expressing ideas about methodology. Thus, programs must be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute.

Preface to the First Edition of The Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs

On the surface, it would seem that the judgment of the computer is indisputable, and if this were truly so, the attachment of a programmer to his programs would have serious consequences for his self-image. When the computer revealed a bug in his program, the programmer would have to reason something like this: ``This program is defective. This program is part of me, an extension of myself, even carrying my name. I am defective.'' But the very harshness of this self-judgement means that is is seldom carried out.

Gerald M. Weinberg, The Psychology of Computer Programming

I often wonder whether it might not still be best to teach programming to novices by starting with a numeric language like that of the Bell interpreter, instead of an algebraic language like BASIC or LOGO. I think a small child can understand machine-like language better than an algebraic language. But I know that such ideas are now considered out of date, and I supposed I'm being an old fogey.

Donald Knuth, Selected Papers on Computer Science

[Fixme: I'll eventually put more material here when I have the chance. I thought these quotes were quite interesting.]

[Note: through the magic of Google, I've found an eerily similar page that my old CS professor put up too! Dan Garcia's Online Teaching Portfolio. Google scares me sometimes.]

Back home