Talk:Niklaus Wirth

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Program Development by Stepwise Refinement[edit]

half the citations in the unsourced section come from "Program Development by Stepwise Refinement". but i don't know how to generate one single link in the "references" section for all those citations. (and wikipedia help is not helping at all). —This unsigned comment is by (talkcontribs) 16:54, 13 April 2008.

moved those quotes to Sourced and updated ref 17:41, 22 May 2008 (UTC)


  • A good designer must rely on experience, on precise, logic thinking; and on pedantic exactness. No magic will do.
  • After more than 30 years of programming we ought to know that the design of complex software is inherently difficult.
  • As a result, software engineering has become the El Dorado for hackers. The more chaotic a program looks, the smaller the danger that someone will take the trouble of inspecting and debunking it.
  • But quality of work can be expected only through personal satisfaction, dedication and enjoyment. In our profession, precision and perfection are not a dispensable luxury, but a simple necessity.
  • C++ is an insult to the human brain.
  • I have never designed a language for its own sake.
  • I know of a particular, very large software producer that explicitly assumes that design takes 20% of developers' time, and debugging takes 80%.
  • Programming equals algorithms plus data structures.
    • This is a rephrase of the title of his textbook "Algorithms + Data Structures = Programs", 1976, Prentice Hall, ISBN 0-13-022418-9 ~ Ningauble 14:49, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
  • The idea that one might derive satisfaction from his or her successful work, because that work is ingenious, beautiful, or just pleasing, has become ridiculed.
  • Whereas Europeans generally pronounce my name the right way ('Ni-klows Wirt'), Americans invariably mangle it into 'Nick-les Worth'. This is to say that Europeans call me by name, but Americans call me by value.
This quote is alluded to in Real Programmers Don't Use Pascal, a famous letter to the editor of Datamation written by Ed Post, Tektronix, Wilsonville, Oregon, USA. The letter appeared in Datamation 29(7), July 1983, and has its own wikipedia article. Hermel 20:18, 25 May 2010 (UTC)