Fun_People Archive
8 Sep
Guide to Programmers

Date: Wed,  8 Sep 93 18:38:05 PDT
To: Fun_People
Subject: Guide to Programmers

 From: <>
 From: David Cattanach  <>
<Other forwards have probably been deleted>

BASIC programmers are paranoid because any 16 year old could do their 
job, if asked.  To try to secure their positions, they deliberately 
write code using the double-spaghetti method; never using a FOR...NEXT 
loop where four or five IF...THEN...ELSE constructs might do.  Since 
they taught themselves programming on a ZX81 rigged up to the family 
telly, they have huge gaps in their computing knowledge.  BASIC 
programmers ring up technical support centres to ask questions like 
'What are those funny numbers with letters in them?'

Despite an early reputation for gambling (as in Pascal's bet), these 
days Pascal programmers are all deadly enthusiastic.  They are proud of 
the ability of their language to define a type representing, for 
example, different flavours of crisp.  This enables them to write 
useful code where tomato=succ(salt_n_vinegar), and 
ord(roast_beef)/2>ord(prawn_cocktail).  Pascal people all know exactly 
how programming should be done and enjoy casting their pearls of wisdom 
among the swine who write in lesser dialects.

FORTRAN programmers learned their craft at college in 1935.  They are 
convinced that theirs is the language of the future, pointing out that 
in 1966 it was selected as the ANSI standard for writing Snoopy 
calendar programs.  FORTRAN programmers are not altogether at ease with 
modern peripherals such as VDUs (which they refer to as 'glass 
teletypes').  They are the only people in the programming community to 
use flowcharts, which they draw with loving care using their special WH 
Smith stencils.  These diagrams are then filed away with the source 
code, ignored for the life of the program and then finally thrown away 
unread because even FORTRAN is easier to read than a flowchart.

Assembly Language
Assembly language programmers are closer to the machine than anybody 
else, emotionally as well as in programming terms.  This symbiosis can 
be taken too far; programmers who faint when the reset button is 
pressed should perhaps consider switching to C, or even chartered 
accountancy.  Assembly programmers often pretend to be able to patch 
their code in hex as they go ('I think you'll find that C4 F2 D1 at 
offset 24A2 will fix the problem, Nigel').  They manage this by 
introducing deliberate errors into their programs, pre-assembling the 
'patched' result secretly and concealing the results in tiny writing on 
their shirt cuffs.

Traditionally the C programmer was a bearded bore who would corner you 
at parties and breathe garlic and Unix all over you.  All this has now 
changed.  These days C programmers are clean shaven bores who corner 
you at parties and breathe lager and OS/2 all over you.  They can still 
be trusted to have a witty quote or two from the Good Book to liven up 
a dull conversation, such as 'a primary expression follwed by an 
expression in square brackets is a primary expression'.

Xbase people go red when lesser mortals refer to their language as a 
'database' language.  They strongly believe that Xbase can do anything 
a specialist language can do, it might produce a program three times as 
large and twenty times slower but it can do it.  When confronted with a 
non-believer who has unwittingly entered the world of Xbase they 
mercililessly perform a frightening ritual known as 'The Boyce Codd 
Relation Rules'.  This has the effect of making the new user re-write 
his code to conform to these rules and thereby make a perfectly good 
program constantly crash with 'Target already engaged in relation'.  
Notwithstanding these faults, it should be noted that some Xbase 
programmers are incredibly together people, who turn over an honest 
penny working for Microsoft.

[=] © 1993 Peter Langston []