Good-bye Goto Man

I wanted to take a brief break in my foray into warblogging debate by joining with Dave Winer in a sad farewell to Edsger Dijkstra.

There isn’t a computer scientist in the world who hasn’t read, with appreciation, the classic ACM paper Go To Statement Considered Harmful. Dijkstra applied the cleanliness of mathematical principle to the clutter and ad hoc nature of programming languages, a marriage that has born fruit with improvements in programming language design, as well as increased use of good programming practices. He, more than any other person, helped make applications maintainable.

I specialized in programming language and language design with my own computer degree, and I’ve worked with over 20 programming languages in the last several years. And in each and every one, Dijkstra’s influence was felt.

Thanks, professor. You done good.

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