Real Programmers Don't Write Specs

Tom Van Vleck

programmers Mary Thompson and Noel Morris at Project MAC's GE-645, April 1968

Real Programmers don't write specs -- users should consider themselves lucky to get any programs at all, and take what they get.

Real Programmers don't comment their code. If it was hard to write, it should be hard to understand.

Real Programmers don't write application programs, they program right down on the bare metal. Application programming is for feebs who can't do system programming.

Real Programmers don't eat quiche. They eat Twinkies. And Szechwan food. (Do not go to eat Szechwan food with a group of Real Programmers unless you are prepared to argue bitterly over the last spring roll.)

Real Programmers aren't scared of GOTOs... but they really prefer branches to absolute locations.

Real Programmers don't write COBOL. COBOL is for wimpy application programmers.

Real Programmers' programs never work right the first time. But if you throw them on the machine they can be patched into working in "only a few" 30-hour debugging sessions.

Real Programmers don't write in FORTRAN. FORTRAN is for pipe stress freaks and crystallography weenies.

Real Programmers never work 9 to 5. If they are around at 9 AM, it's because they were up all night.

Real Programmers don't write in BASIC. Actually, no programmers write in BASIC... after age twelve.

Real Programmers can take the scissors off the phone cord.

Real Programmers don't write in PL/I. PL/I is for programmers who can't decide whether to write in COBOL or FORTRAN.

Real Programmers don't play tennis, or any other sport which requires you to change clothes. Mountain climbing is OK, and Real Programmers wear their climbing boots to work in case a mountain should suddenly spring up in the middle of the computer room.

Real Programmers don't do documentation. Documentation is for simps who can't figure out the listing.

Real Programmers don't write in PASCAL, or BLISS, or ADA, or any of those pinko computer science languages. Strong typing is for people with weak memories.