Melvin's digital garden

Programmers at Work

Dan Bricklin (VisiCalc)

On spreadsheets: “We’re just making the users do more and more of the programming themselves, but they don’t know it.”

On the business of sofware development: “There is an inherent cottage industry component to programming.”

“For me it was very helpful to have a background in many different languages,” since he could choose the appropriate language for the current application rather than “the one I know.”

“… you have to figure out a path through the whole thing and implement that first… It’s always building off something that’s working.”

Jonathan Sachs (Lotus 1-2-3)

1-2-3 began with a working program, and it continued to be a working program throughout its development.

“there are things you don’t realize until you start working on the program”

“Reading other people’s code is still an important way to learn”

Robert Carr (Framework)

“Once you get a corpus of code building up, it’s hard to change direction.”

“Users should be able to forget that there is a program between them and their information.”

Looking back on looking forward

They mostly created a prototype that worked, and kept adding functionality until it was ready to ship. These developers were cognizant that at some point you have to quit adding to the software and send it out the door.

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