You are previewing Mythical Man-Month, The: Essays on Software Engineering, Anniversary Edition.

Mythical Man-Month, The: Essays on Software Engineering, Anniversary Edition

Cover of Mythical Man-Month, The: Essays on Software Engineering, Anniversary Edition by Frederick P. Brooks Jr. Published by Addison-Wesley Professional
O'Reilly logo

Chapter 15. The Other Face

What we do not understand we do not possess.GOETHE

O give me commentators plain,Who with no deep researchers vex the brain.CRABBE

A computer program is a message from a man to a machine. The rigidly marshaled syntax and the scrupulous definitions all exist to make intention clear to the dumb engine.

But a written program has another face, that which tells its story to the human user. For even the most private of programs, some such communication is necessary; memory will fail the author-user, and he will require refreshing on the details of his handiwork.

How much more vital is the documentation for a public program, whose user is remote from the author in both time and space! For the program product, the other ...

The best content for your career. Discover unlimited learning on demand for around $1/day.