Compilers are hard working and dumb?

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2005/08/29 12:04 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2005/08/29/457530.aspx


Philipp Lensen explained Why Good Programmers Are Lazy and Dumb. I thought this was a great and funny post, made even funnier by a small piece in the middle:

In the endless battle between a programmer and the compiler, it’s best for the programmer to give up early and admit that it’s always him and never the compiler who’s at fault (unless it’s about character encoding issues, which is the part even the compiler gets wrong).

Like the line in the movie said, we laugh because it's funny, and we laugh because it's true. Compilers often get this bit wrong, but in fairness to the compiler it is usually the programmer's fault and the compiler is just following orders when if it knew better it would know to put up an error.

Things are getting better for languages like C# and VB.NET, which are moving to Unicode. But no one is quite there yet, something that I will be blogging about soon.

In the meantime, enjoy the article, it is pretty accurate and reminds me of the story of "The Man Who Was Too Lazy to Fail" from a Heinlein novel I enjoyed years back....


# Maurits [MSFT] on 30 Aug 2005 3:07 AM:

Larry Wall's three Great Qualities of programmers are:

Laziness (why code when you can reuse)
Impatience (why wait for a feature when you can code it)
Hubris (why code something specific when you can code something general)

# SteveM on 31 Aug 2005 11:14 AM:

For anyone who's interested in the Heinlen novel - his best IMHO: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0441810764/

# Michael S. Kaplan on 31 Aug 2005 1:26 PM:

That is indeed the book that the story comes from. :-)

# Richard on 1 Sep 2005 7:28 AM:

See definitions of "Laziness," "impatience" and "hubris" from "Programming Perl" (and, IIRC, the FAQ).

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