The Parable of the two Programmers
Neil W. Rickert
Dept. of Math, Stat., and Computer Science,
University of Illinois at Chicago.
March 20, 1985
Once upon a time, unbeknownst to each other, the “Automated Accounting Applications Association” and the “Consolidated Computerized Capital Corporation” decided that they needed the identical program to perform a certain service.
从前，有两个互不知名的公司 AAAA 和 CCCC，确信他们需要一个程序来负责相同的工作。
Automated hired a programmer-analyst, Alan, to solve their problem.
Meanwhile, Consolidated decided to ask a newly hired entry-level programmer, Charles, to tackle the job, to see if he was as good as he pretended.
Alan, having had experience in difficult programming projects, decided to use the PQR structured design methodology. With this in mind he asked his department manager to assign another three programmers as a programming team. Then the team went to work, churning out preliminary reports and problem analyses.
艾伦曾经参加过高深的项目，决定使用 PQR 结构化设计方法。带着这个想法，他请求部门经理再给他配备三名程序员来组成一个小组。于是该小组开始工作，历尽艰辛后提出了初步的报告以及需求分析。
Back at Consolidated, Charles spent some time thinking about the problem. His fellow employees noticed that Charles often sat with his feet on the desk, drinking coffee. He was occasionally seen at his computer terminal, but his office mate could tell from the rhythmic striking of keys that he was actually playing Space Invaders.
By now, the team at Automated was starting to write code. The programmers were spending about half their time writing and compiling code, and the rest of their time in conference, discussing the interfaces between the various modules.
His office mate noticed that Charles had finally given up on Space Invaders. Instead he now divided his time between drinking coffee with his feet on the table, and scribbling on little scraps of paper. His scribbling didn’t seem to be Tic Tac Toe, but it didn’t exactly make much sense, either.
Two months have gone by. The team at Automated finally releases an implementation timetable. In another two months they will have a test version of the program. Then a two month period of testing and enhancing should yield a completed version.
The manager of Charles has by now tired of seeing him goof off. He decides to confront him. But as he walks into Charles’s office, he is surprised to see Charles busy entering code at his terminal. He decides to postpone the confrontation, so makes some small talk then leaves. However, he begins to keep a closer watch on Charles, so that when the opportunity presents itself he can confront him. Not looking forward to an unpleasant conversation, he is pleased to notice that Charles seems to be busy most of the time. He has even been see to delay his lunch, and to stay after work two or three days a week.
At the end of three months, Charles announces he has completed the project. He submits a 500 line program. The program appears to be clearly written, and when tested it does everything required in the specifications. In fact it even has a few additional convenience features which might significantly improve the usability of the program. The program is put into test, and, except for one quickly corrected oversight, performs well.
三个月就要过去了，查尔斯宣布项目完成了。他提交了一个 500 行的程序。程序看起来写的很清爽，在测试中一切都符合规范，实际上还有几个附加的便利功能，可以显著的增强程序的可用性。进入测试过程后，除了一个很快就改正了的疏漏，都很好。
The team at Automated has by now completed two of the four major modules required for their program. These modules are now undergoing testing while the other modules are completed.
After another three weeks, Alan announces that the preliminary version is ready one week ahead of schedule. He supplies a list of the deficiencies that he expects to correct. The program is placed under test. The users find a number of bugs and deficiencies, other than those listed. As Alan explains, this is no surprise. After all this is a preliminary version in which bugs were expected.
After about two more months, the team has completed its production version of the program. It consists of about 2,500 lines of code. When tested it seems to satisfy most of the original specifications. It has omitted one or two features, and is very fussy about the format of its input data. However the company decides to install the program. They can always train their data-entry staff to enter data in the strict format required. The program is handed over to some maintenance programmers to eventually incorporate the missing features.
又过了大约两个月，小组完成了这个程序的产品化版本。大约包含了 2500 行代码。测试时看起来能够满足原有规格的大部。漏掉了一两个功能，输入数据的格式极为糟糕。但公司决定使用。他们要经常训练数据录入人员以使他们能够按照所需的精确格式输入。程序被移交给维护程序员，来把丢掉的功能最终加上。
At first Charles’s supervisor was impressed. But as he read through the source code, he realized that the project was really much simpler than he had originally though. It now seemed apparent that this was not much of a challenge even for a beginning programmer.
Charles did produce about 5 lines of code per day. This is perhaps a little above average. However, considering the simplicity of the program, it was nothing exceptional. Also his supervisor remembered his two months of goofing off.
查尔斯每天大约写 5 行代码。或许比平均水平略高。但是，考虑到是这么简单的一个程序，也没什么不寻常。不过主管还是记住了他两个月的游手好闲。
At his next salary review Charles was given a raise which was about half the inflation over the period. He was not given a promotion. After about a year he became discouraged and left Consolidated.
At Automated, Alan was complimented for completing his project on schedule. His supervisor looked over the program. With a few minutes of thumbing through he saw that the company standards about structured programming were being observed. He quickly gave up attempting to read the program however; it seemed quite incomprehensible. He realized by now that the project was really much more complex than he had originally assumed, and he congratulated Alan again on his achievement.
The team had produced over 3 lines of code per programmer per day. This was about average, but, considering the complexity of the problem, could be considered to be exceptional. Alan was given a hefty pay raise, and promoted to Systems Analyst as a reward for his achievement.
项目组每个程序员每天写 3 行多代码。这是平均水平，不过，考虑到这个问题的复杂度，应该说是很不寻常的了。艾伦被给予重奖，并且作为对他的成绩的奖赏，被提拔为系统分析员。