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Programming Software

Software Hall of Fame Member Ed Yourdon Dies ( 67

New submitter andyjl writes: The software industry lost one of its pioneers on Tuesday, January 20, 2016 when Ed Yourdon died from post-operative complications. Ed was a pioneer of Structured Programming methodologies, and was a prodigious author of software-related books, including topics such as "death march" projects, and the problems of Y2K. He was also a personal friend and fellow forensic software analyst specializing in the analysis of failed software development projects and the lack of software development disciplines. He once told me that he read a item on the Internet (which I cannot find) that said, "whenever a programmer writes a GOTO statement, somewhere a Yourdon dies." I am forced to conclude that one of you programmers out there did indeed write a GOTO statement on Tuesday and I want to know who it was. Look at what you did! Did you really have to use a GOTO? Adds reader theodp: Yourdon was a successful author, whose Slashdot-reviewed books included Rise and Resurrection of the American Programmer, Death March: The Complete Software Developer's Guide to Surviving "Mission Impossible" Projects, Byte Wars: The Impact of September 11 on Information Technology, and Outsourcing: Competing in the Global Productivity Race. Yourdon's Time Bomb 2000!: What the Year 2000 Computer Crisis Means to You!, written with daughter Jennifer, was a Y2K best-seller.
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Software Hall of Fame Member Ed Yourdon Dies

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  • Use of GOTO (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Saturday January 23, 2016 @05:34PM (#51358277)

    It was the f'ing compiler!

    I swear, it keeps insisting on emitting all these conditional and unconditional branch instructions in assembly!

    It's as if you couldn't write functional code in assembly without GOTO's or something!?!?!?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Edgar P. Yourdon or "Edmeister", as he liked to be called, taught us that a man can triumph over adversity. And even though Ed's agonizing struggle through life was tragically cut short, I'm sure he'll make great worm food.

  • 10 GOTO 10

  • by Anonymous Coward

    GOTO, used properly, does not produce unstructured code. All the world's code would be a lot better if all programmers took a good class in compilers (and got a good grade) -- in this case to learn what "structure" means. I'm not arguing in favor of GOTO; it just serves to make my point.

    • In languages without a goto I've implemented shit like:

      while (true)
      if thisError
      errcode = CnstPtrHwndPtrCnst.shit
      if thatError
      errcode = CnstPtrHwndPtrCnst.crap

      One time someone made a fuss. After half a day of trying to rewrite it more cleanly (with more flags than the UN and cascading control levels that ran off the screen) he gave up.

  • by theodp ( 442580 ) on Saturday January 23, 2016 @05:53PM (#51358367)

    Ed Yourdon []

    • Sorry, but this is not what I would call "pretty avid". Most shots are quite plain and boring.

      • What does the quality of the shots have to do with how avid the photographer was?

        • I have to say that I had to look up the exact meaning of "avid" (I am not a native English speaker). And you are correct. I was in the understanding "avid" meant that you are not only enthousiastic about something, but also good (or at least better than average) at it. Like "admirable" (in fact I am looking for the translation of the Dutch word "verdienstelijk").

          That being said, it would mean always everybody nowadays is an avid photographer, considering the millions of selfies, food-shots and other mundane

  • by fozzy1015 ( 264592 ) on Saturday January 23, 2016 @06:29PM (#51358517)

    Linus used gotos to a label at the end of some functions. It's a straightforward way to implement clean up that has to happen regardless if a failure occurs at some point in the function.

    • The article regarding goto's is named "GOTO's considered harmful", it is not named "GOTO's are the worst idea ever", it is also not called "GOTO's are to be avoided at all costs", it is also not named "GOTO's are an invention of the devil and all language designers using it should burn in hell".

      Get a damn clue or switch your business. I consider attitudes like yours: harmful.

      • The article regarding goto's is named "GOTO's considered harmful", it is not named "GOTO's are the worst idea ever", it is also not called "GOTO's are to be avoided at all costs", it is also not named "GOTO's are an invention of the devil and all language designers using it should burn in hell".

        No, no! That's systemd.

      • Four times you forgot to mention the thing that belongs to GOTO.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I am old enough to remember the flack that went around about GOTOs and such. Frankly, I don't remember Ed Yourdon being involved. The note "GOTO's Considered Harmful" was written by Edsger Dijkstra, not by Yourdon.

        The resulting controversy had programmers confused about GOTOs for years, and it appears to still be going on. The point is NOT that every GOTO use is unutterably bad, but that in the day, programmers used them willy-nilly with not enough discipline, leading to very convoluted and less robust cod

      • In a software engineering forum, I argued that software engineering was mostly about human perception and not "external" rules of logic and math (beyond fitting objective tool requirements). I'll call it "perceptionists" versus "symbolists" here.

        As an example, we debated whether it could be proven "go-to's are objectively worse than blocks" as far as software creation resources, quality, and maintenance.

        The perceptionist side won the debate (although it can come down to definition interpretation). Blocks a

      • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

        GOTO's are an invention of the devil and all coders using it will GOTO hell

        Us nerds prefer the basement anyhow.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm a C programmer and I can use them safely :P

  • by bfwebster ( 90513 ) on Saturday January 23, 2016 @06:56PM (#51358595) Homepage

    I had bought and read several of Ed's books before I met him; we became colleagues and then friends (albeit not close ones) about 15 years ago. It's been a year or two since we've swapped e-mails, but I continued to see his photography work show up on Facebook from time to time.

    And I daresay many of those posting here have no idea how influential Ed was in software engineering developing as a discipline, starting nearly half a century ago []. He pioneered and championed many concepts and practices that we would take for granted today, both in technique and process. I am so sorry to hear this. ..bruce..

  • Yourdon's book "Structured design: fundamentals of a discipline of computer program and systems design" was my first introduction to the idea of structure programming, and has continued to influence me simply by the idea that good design has a coherent rationale, and an overall structure. Sounds obvious? Not really.

    Yeah, he got a little nutty with the TEOTWAWKI stuff about Y2K. Seems kind of quaint now.

    Godspeed, Mr. Yourdon.

    • I'm trying to recollect if it was Yourdon's or DeMarco's methods I learned so many years ago while working at Inland Steel. The analysis based on DFDs has been a powerful tool I found useful all these years. Conservation of data - a powerful idea. ;)

      Godspeed indeed!

    • by KGIII ( 973947 )

      I do not recollect the name of the book but I know the author's name because it was/is so unique. One of my programmers kept a copy in his office and I'd borrowed it, thumbed through it, and read parts of it. He swore by it and by the author. He was also the programmer who was very, very tough on me in my attempts to understand - I'd completely turned my code over to the team by that point but I still wanted to know what was going on under the hood and to be able to make small changes as needed without push

  • ... to break out of a Lodash forEach loop, but that should have only grazed him.

  • Thank you.

    One by one, they leave our lives,
    leaving us with loss that we never expected.

  • I had at least one of his books in the nineties, and while I remember him as making constructive contributions, there was always the code-correction smell of over promotion.

    I'm pretty sure I bought one or two of his books via strong recommendations by P. J. Plauger.

    These books weren't harmful, and actually set the stage for real learning, which came like one lightening bolt after another from some obscure tome by Edsger W. Dijkstra.

    The ultimate difference being that one of these men could successfully preac

  • I haven't use GOTO since 1982. Must be someone else.

  • I didn't know him, but I read two of his books.

    In The Decline and Fall of the American Programmer he predicted Japan would overtake the United States in software development due to their use of CASE tools and zero defect tolerance culture.

    In The Rise and Resurrection of the American Programmer (which of course came later), Yourdon fessed up that his prediction was wrong. He attributed this to users being willing to put up with buggy software if they have benefit from new features.

    Kind of bookend o

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it is too dark to read.