07 July 2004
Dijkstra: The Humble Programmer
"It [the confrontation with the programming task] has already taught us a few lessons, and the one I have chosen to stress in this is the following. We shall do a much better programming job, provided that we approach the task with a full appreciation of its tremendous difficulty, provided that we stick to modest and elegant programming languages, provided that we respect the intrinsic limitations of the human mind and approach the task as Very Humble Programmers." [October 1972]. This is the conclusion of Dijkstra's Turing Award Lecture. As usual, a very convincing piece. In fact, I think it contains the best argument I've seen that C++ is a bad language for being productive, even though it was written more than 10 years before C++'s conception (1983).