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As a result, Thomas contends, the nation produces lines and lines of code that don't work well because the programmers didn't understand the point of what they were doing. "They need to start treating programmers as skilled individuals," he says. "Software development is anything but precise. Once a problem gets to a certain level of complexity, you've got to do it to understand it."
Thomas says the idea for their book started when he and Hunt got tired of trying to explain to clients and prospective clients their philosophical approach to programming. They decided to jot down a few ideas to reduce the number of times they had to repeat themselves. When the two realized how large and developed an undertaking they had begun, Thomas says, they decided on a lark to go to their favorite publisher of technical books, Addison-Wesley Inc. Much to their surprise, the publisher did not just offer kind words for improving their amateur effort but instead asked them who else was bidding on the book and told them to name their advance fee.
The irony now is that Thomas and Hunt, who thought they would be reducing the amount of explaining they had to do for prospective clients, are now speaking before larger and larger groups--most recently in Europe--to programmers hungry for some more kernels of wisdom from the pragmatic programmers.