Software idioms

From Alan Perlis:

Since large programs grow from small ones, it is crucial that we develop an arsenal of standard program structures of whose correctness we have become sure — we call them idioms — and learn to combine them into larger structures using organizational techniques of proven value.

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4 comments on “Software idioms
  1. Thanks for the quote. Do you have a source for it? It is reminiscent of design patterns, too.

  2. John says:

    I found it in the PDF version of SICP on page 13.

  3. Johann says:

    Maybe from the “Epigrams on Programming” ? (Alan J. Perlis, SIGPLAN Notices (ISSN 0362-1340), vol. 17 nº 9, september 1982).
    More quotes : http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Alan_Perlis

  4. JAM says:

    Whilst the quote is hard to disagree with, we need to ensure we don’t allow this to limit us. Building large programs from smaller ‘known’ ones will guarantee (in the appropriate sense) that they do what is required, but this will often come at the expense of efficiency. The large program may have come from the smaller ones, but it doesn’t follow that the result is the best way to do it.