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Can programmers be called code authors or any other term similar in meaning to a book author?

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As opposed to a mere "coder"... – GEdgar Jan 14 '12 at 21:41
Conversely, could book authors be called developers? :) – djeidot Jan 17 '12 at 22:00
up vote 12 down vote accepted

As a programmer myself, I say "why the hell not?" — But I guess that's biased?

However, Merriam-Webster does seem to agree with me as it defines 'author' as: "one that originates or creates" and cites software authors as an example.

So in both my opinion and the accepted definition of the word author, yes, a programmer can be considered an author.

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It seems like this would only be appropriate when the author or authors being described were the primary visionaries. If I were to write out a non-trivial algorithm in pseudo code and handed it off to somebody else to implement, I would object to them being called the "code author" even if it is technically accurate. – Jordan Bentley Feb 6 '12 at 4:24

Yes, but it must be used judiciously and rarely to avoid sounding pretentious.

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I'm a software auteur – mgb Jan 14 '12 at 4:39
@mgb - LOL! You should promote yourself to software maestro. – James McLeod Jan 14 '12 at 14:57
I prefer software stylist (c.f. Punchline) – Steve Melnikoff Jan 23 '12 at 10:06

Doxygen, a source code documentation system that supports several languages, uses the \author tag to document who authored the code.

Here's a C++ example:

//! \class  GargleBlaster
//! \brief  Alcoholic equivalent of a mugging
//! \author Zaphod Beeblebrox 
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The same holds for Javadoc: /** @author Zaphod Beeblebrox */ – Felix Dombek Jan 14 '12 at 13:38
But does this refer to the author of the documentation, or of the code? – James McLeod Jan 14 '12 at 14:57
@JamesMcLeod it refers to the author of the file/class/method/function the docblock is documenting. – WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot Jan 14 '12 at 16:25
@JamesMcLeod Always the code author(s), in my experience – Gnawme Jan 14 '12 at 17:05
@Gnawme, that is my experience as well, but I don't believe I have ever encountered the case where the author of the code and the author of the documentation metadata are different. For this case, I am starting to think it makes much more sense for the [\\@]author tag to refer to the author of the documentation, as this is the person who should be contacted about problems with the documentation. – James McLeod Jan 14 '12 at 19:31

Here is an example of poetry in Perl. Flexible syntax allows to write so.


Yes, programmers can be called code authors.

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+1 really refreshing – Ubermensch Jan 14 '12 at 13:22

In Spain and other European countries (France and Portugal at least), software cannot be patented; its commercial protection is achieved through intellectual property laws, the equivalent to the anglosaxon concept of copyright. Intellectual property laws, which explicitly include software, speak of a creator or author of the work being protected.

So I guess yes, author is a good term for someone who has created a piece of software.

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protected by RegDwigнt Jan 16 '12 at 10:35

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