《编程之道》 (Tao of Programming) 十三则

《编程之道》 (Tao of Programming) 十三则「精选」


The Grand Master Turing once dreamed that he was a machine. When he awoke, he exclaimed: “I don’t know whether I am Turing dreaming that I am a machine, or a machine dreaming that I am Turing!”

昔日,图灵大师梦见自己变成了一台机器,他醒来后惊呼: 「我不确定我是图灵梦见自己变成了机器,还是我是机器梦见自己变成了图灵!」


Thus spake the Master Programmer: “When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes.”



There once was a Master Programmer who wrote unstructured programs. A novice programmer, seeking to imitate him, also began to write unstructured programs. When the novice asked the Master to evaluate his progress, the Master criticized him for writing unstructured programs, saying, “What is appropriate for the Master is not appropriate for the novice. You must understand Tao before transcending structure.”



Thus spake the Master Programmer: “A well-written program is its own Heaven; a poorly-written program is its own Hell.”



A program should be light and agile, its subroutines connected like a string of pearls. The spirit and intent of the program should be retained throughout. There should be neither too little nor too much. Neither needless loops nor useless variables; neither lack of structure nor overwhelming rigidity.


A program should follow the “Law of Least Astonishment”. What is this law? It is simply that the program should always respond to the users in the way that least astonishes them.


A program, no matter how complex, should act as a single unit. The program should be directed by the logic within rather than by outward appearances.


If the program fails in these requirements, it will be in a state of disorder and confusion. The only way to correct this is to rewrite the program.



Only a fool expects rational behavior from his fellow humans. Why do you expect it from a machine that humans have constructed? Computers simulate determinism; only Tao is perfect.The rules of programming are transitory; only Tao is eternal. Therefore, you must contemplate Tao before you receive Enlightenment.



What I follow is Tao – beyond all techniques! When I first began to program, I would see before me the whole problem in one mass. After three years, I no longer saw this mass. Instead, I used subroutines. But now I see nothing. My whole being exists in a formless void. My senses are idle. My spirit, free to work without a plan, follows its own instinct. In short, my program writes itself. True, sometimes there are difficult problems. I see them coming, I slow down, I watch silently. Then I change a single line of code and the difficulties vanish like puffs of idle smoke. I then compile the program. I sit still and let the joy of the work fill my being. I close my eyes for a moment and then log off.



Software rots if not used.



Does a good farmer neglect a crop he has planted?


Does a good teacher overlook even the most humble student?


Does a good father allow a single child to starve?


Does a good programmer refuse to maintain his code?



Why are programmers non-productive? Because their time is wasted in meetings.


Why are programmers rebellious? Because the management interferes too much.


Why are the programmers resigning one by one? Because they are burnt out.


Having worked for poor management, they no longer value their jobs.



In the East there is a shark which is larger than all other fish. It changes into a bird whose wings are like clouds filling the sky.


When this bird moves across the land, it brings a message from Corporate Headquarters. This message drops into the midst of the programmers, like a seagull making its mark upon the beach. Then the bird mounts on the wind and, with the blue sky at its back, returns home.


The novice programmer stares in wonder at the bird, for he understands it not. The average programmer dreads the coming of the bird, for he fears its message. The Master Programmer continues to work at his terminal, unaware that the bird has come and gone.



Thus spake the Master Programmer: “Without the wind, the grass does not move. Without software hardware is useless.”

编程大师如是说: 「没有风,草就不会动;没有软件,硬件就没用。」


Hardware met Software on the road to Changtse. Software said: “You are Yin and I am Yang. If we travel together, we will become famous and earn vast sums of money.” And so they set forth together, thinking to conquer the world.


Presently, they met Firmware, who was dressed in tattered rags and hobbled along propped on a thorny stick. Firmware said to them: “The Tao lies beyond Yin and Yang. It is silent and still as a pool of water. It does not seek fame; therefore, nobody knows its presence. It does not seek fortune, for it is complete within itself. It exists beyond space and time.”


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