Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Stiff asks, great programmers answer

Interview with Linus Torvalds, Dave Thomas, David Heinemeier Hansson, Steve Yegge, Peter Norvig, Guido Van Rossum, Bjarne Stroustrup, James Gosling and Tim Bray.

Interesting read. Go read it, and if you like post your own answers in the comments here...

How did you learn programming? Were any schools of any use? Or maybe you didn’t even bother with ending any schools :) ?
mIRC scripts (hah!), HTML, and basic PHP. A bit of javascript. I then went off to AIT and went through iCarnegie.

What do you think is the most important skill every programmer should posses?
Humor, and the ability to work in a team without direction. Obsessive compulsive urges to document things and put in meaningful info into version control software / any public communication.

Do you think mathematics and/or physics are an important skill for a programmer? Why?
Not really; most math is terrible for preparing you to build a web application. Which is what I do.

What do you think will be the next big thing in computer programming? X-oriented programming, y language, quantum computers, what?
SPARQL backed web applications. Or apps based on XULRunner; like Songbird - half program, half browser, half finished, totally nifty...

If you had three months to learn one relativly new technology, which one would You choose?
I don't care about new stuff, I just want to be able to compile PHP extensions properly! On any platform I need to also...

What do you think makes some programmers 10 or 100 times more productive than others?
Attention to detail and the ability to communicate. If you can't articulate what's on your mind; how can you express ideas in code?

What are your favourite tools (operating system, programming/scripting language, text editor, version control system, shell, database engine, other tools you can’t live without) and why do you like them more than others?
Unix like environments, PHP 5, Editplus, SVN, bash, mysql, ZendCodeAnalyzer and PHPUnit. Oh, and firefox.

What is your favourite book related to computer programming?
*Shrug* - there was a decent one on refactoring, but I've lost it.

What is Your favourite book NOT related to computer programming?
A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge; or Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds (I just finished it; it's awesome)

What are your favourite music bands/performers/compositors?
Derb; Cosmic Gate; etc. If it's hard trance, I'll tend to like it. My tastes wander a lot as I buy more vinyl.

What about you; readers?
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