The Sex and Cash Theory for Programmers

The Software that Never Crashes

1. December 2008 16:23 by Scott in   //  Tags: , , ,   //   Comments (9)

There are many untold stories in the world today.  From saving lives to sacrificing your self for the greater good.  Stories are past down from generation to generation and I want to make sure there is another story that is told to every programmer in the world.  It is the story of those who write perfect code. An interview in Dec. 2007 was done by Charles Fishman about the programmers who code for the space shuttle.  The men and women that put their code to the test.  It either works and people live, or it fails and people die.  There is only a good and a bad scenario.  If you are space shuttle programmer, you are a perfect coder.  I don't want to bore you with the forward, I would just rather get to the meat of the article. So here it is in all of its glory.

After reading the article, I hope you realize the amount of inspiration that could be taken from this as a programmer. The quote that sums it all up for me is:

"But how much work the software does is not what makes it remarkable. What makes it remarkable is how well the software works. This software never crashes. It never needs to be re-booted. This software is bug-free. It is perfect, as perfect as human beings have achieved. Consider these stats: the last three versions of the program -- each 420,000 lines long-had just one error each. The last 11 versions of this software had a total of 17 errors. Commercial programs of equivalent complexity would have 5,000 errors."

That quote right there sums up coding in a basket.

  • Write better code.
  • Write cleaner code.
  • Write as if you had to save a life  - Its amazing what someone would do to know that their code could end up costing lives.
  • Learn something from this article and bring it back to your company.
  • In the end, its the process by which they executed that makes their code perfect.  Learn to make great code, plan and think about great code.
  • The average programmer today thinks 80% of the time and actually codes only 20% of the time.  This thinking is what makes the programmer better at writing clear and concise code.

This story should be placed in a book for all to see and remember.  Its an inspiring piece about the perfect programmers.

Now the question remains: Have you ever created something flawless?

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