Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Pragmatic Programmer: Craftsmen and Cathedrals

I'm still only in the preface to Andrew Hunt's and David Thomas's The Pragmatic Programmer, but I can already tell it's going to be a favorite.

Hunt and Thomas have this to say about about the importance of craftsmanship in software development:
Think about the large cathedrals built in Europe during the Middle Ages. Each took thousands of person-years of effort, spread over many decades. Lessons learned were passed down to the next set of builders, who advanced the state of structural engineering with their accomplishments. But the carpenters, stonecutters, carvers, and glass workers were all craftspeople, interpreting the engineering requirements to produce a whole that transcended the purely mechanical side of their construction. It was their belief in their individual contributions that sustained the projects.
We who cut mere stones must always be envisioning cathedrals.

-Quarry Worker's Creed  
 (p. xx of The Pragmatic Programmer, Boston: Addison-Wesley, 2000 )
Good stuff -- makes me want to do more than just sling code that compiles. It's an excellent reminder that there is always room for beauty and elegance, even in the seemingly mundane.

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