Programming languages

A programming language is a machine-readable artificial language designed to express computations that can be performed by a machine, particularly a computer. Programming languages can be used to create programs that specify the behavior of a machine, to express algorithms precisely, or as a mode of human communication.


Quotes are arranged alphabetically by author

A - FEdit

  • Programs must be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute.
  • For twenty years programming languages have been steadily progressing toward their present condition of obesity; as a result, the study and invention of programming languages has lost much of its excitement. Instead, it is now the province of those who prefer to work with thick compendia of details rather than wrestle with new ideas. Discussions about programming languages often resemble medieval debates about the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin instead of exciting contests between fundamentally differing concepts.
  • Cheatham's amendment of Conway's Law: If a group of N persons implements a [COBOL] compiler, there will be N-1 passes. Someone in the group has to be the manager.

G - LEdit

  • Typing is no substitute for thinking.
    • Richard W. Hamming cited in: John G. Kemeny, ‎Thomas E. Kurtz (1987) Structured BASIC programming. p. 118
  • At first I hoped that such a technically unsound project would collapse but I soon realized it was doomed to success. Almost anything in software can be implemented, sold, and even used given enough determination. There is nothing a mere scientist can say that will stand against the flood of a hundred million dollars.
  • My original postulate, which I have been pursuing as a scientist all my life, is that one uses the criteria of correctness as a means of converging on a decent programming language design—one which doesn’t set traps for its users, and ones in which the different components of the program correspond clearly to different components of its specification, so you can reason compositionally about it. [...] The tools, including the compiler, have to be based on some theory of what it means to write a correct program.

M - REdit

  • Computer scientists have so far worked on developing powerful programming languages that make it possible to solve the technical problems of computation. Little effort has gone toward devising the languages of interaction.

S - ZEdit

  • If someone claims to have the perfect programming language, he is either a fool or a salesman or both.
  • Some people, when confronted with a problem, think "I know, I'll use sed." Now they have two problems.

See alsoEdit

For lemma's about separate programming languages, see Category:Programming languages

External linksEdit

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Last modified on 16 August 2013, at 21:11