Do you think in code? How many lines of usable code can you write in a day?
Is it 10, 50, or 100 lines a day?
Is there a better way?
Some people believe that OOP or Object Oriented Programming is the way. Many of the languages today support this concept and distributive libraries abound going back all the way to the 60’s and 70’s, when Edward Yourdon began to make OOP a household word to developers around the world. Along with his efforts and the development of newer languages that support OOP, almost anyone can now become a programmer of Object Oriented Programming on a Windows System, write code, and make a decent living.
Let’s explore a topic that is largely ignored nowadays and that is the concept of the “Uberprogrammer” or as IBM used to call them the “Super Programmers.”
Many have forgotten this concept in favor of easy-to-use module; sending calls and receiving data from objects and acting as if they were talking to us. This makes Window code quick and easy to develop as you are building on the work of those who went before. If you could have seen a Super Programmer in action though, you would have been dumbfounded. Thousands of lines of code seemed to flow from their fingertips and it worked the first time with almost no debugging required.
How many hours do you spend debugging your code?
Watching one at terminal while they were in the Zone was amazing. They seemed to hear an inner voice that was using their fingers with their eyes unfocused, not stopping until their task was done, and the completed piece of software was finished. If you looked at the source, it was almost a work of art in its simplicity and elegance.
Super Programmer – Their Demise
IBM was using Super Programmer concept when it created the first of its Chief Programmer Teams built around one of these Ubermensch. Therein lays their glory and their demise, because IBM did not have enough of the Super Programmers to go around. The exact numbers are hard to come by; however, it was roughly 1 to 100 regular programmers. If you asked upper management at IBM, it was closer to 1 Super Programmer to 1000 regular software developers. This is of course why the concept was dropped and alternative means were discovered and utilized.
This even today has not changed and resulted recently in the SWIFT Development System for creating iPhone Apps for Apple and other Smartphone products under the Windows OS or the Mac. There are not enough App programmers available to do the necessary work today. This seems to parallel what happened with the Super Programmers.
If you ever read the book “Writing with Power” by Peter Elbow, you will see a way to use both the Super Programmer concept with our current methodologies of OOP design together, as this writer did. These thoughts promulgated in the book are by no means unique. During the 1930’s through the early 60’s writers were generating reams of words on paper in a short time.
Walter B. Gibson one of the greatest of them could turn a large novel out in only 3 days. Just imagine writing an App that quickly. Could this same concept be applied to using Object Oriented Programming as well? It has never been spoken of ever being done or even mentioned at any of the user conferences or even online. Speed, number of lines, and word count are taboo topics.
The idea is valid though, writing code is like writing in a slightly stilted form of English. You could even compare it to writing in a foreign language if you wanted to.”War and Peace” was written in Russian. Could something called “Year End Statement” be written in PHP?
Writing Code: Compare it to Writing another Language
Writing code is very similar to writing anything else. Just because we use a synthetic language to do it doesn’t change things.
Each Super Programmer may have been a genius that we can’t duplicate and this is why we had to create the Object Oriented methodology that regular programmers, being lesser mortals could perform the same Olympian feats quicker and under budget.
A more interesting possibility is that Super Programmers thought and spoke in the language of computers. By using the same techniques of the Pulp writers of the 30’s, were merely writing down their thoughts about how to solve a problem, that when read by a computer got the results that IBM and the owners of the computers of the day wanted.
Therefore, by studying the methods of the past, we could possibly speed the writing and improve the quality of the code written today. Apple’s SWIFT development language is becoming the vehicle of choice if you want to write for Apple or other Smart Phones using the Windows platform.