Lord Palmerston on Programming

Joel Spolsky

Number of words 2230
Computer science content medium
Business content low
English language complexity high

Sub-areas covered

Learning objectives


Visual Basic Scripting Edition - an Active Scripting (technology used in Windows to implement component-based scripting support) language developed by Microsoft
an abbreviation for regular expressions. In computing, regular expressions provide a concise and flexible means for identifying strings of text of interest, such as particular characters, words, or patterns of characters
an operating system
Api (Application programming interface)
a source code interface that an operating system, library or service provides to support requests made by computer programs
GUI (Graphical User Interface)
a type of user interface which allows people to interact with a computer and computer-controlled devices
ASP (Action Server Pages)
Microsoft’s first server-side script engine for dynamically generated web pages


This article is about different computer programming “worlds” and how they differ from one another. The author suggests that the difference between programming “worlds” is so big that it is almost impossible for one person to understand and compare them. He also stresses the need for a programmer to never stop learning so as to stay proficient in his/her computer programming “world”.

Artykuł traktuje o konieczności ciągłego uczenia się dla zachowania statusu eksperta w programowaniu. Rozległość wiedzy, którą powinien posiąść programista rośnie coraz szybciej i tam, gdzie kiedyś wystarczyło przeczytać jedną książkę by wiedzieć wszystko, teraz nie wystarczają kilkuletnie studia. Autor podkreśla również wagę praktycznego doświadczenia przy pracach programistycznych.

Pre-reading questions

  1. What does the phrase “a good programmer” mean to you?
  2. What abilities/skills should a good programmer have?
  3. Api or library? Which is more important?
  4. Give some examples of the main programming areas.
  5. Which programming languages are important now?