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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, 2012 at 21:41
  • 2
    Conversely, could book authors be called developers? :)
    – djeidot
    Jan 17, 2012 at 22:00
  • I think a very generic question one might ask would be: "Who is the author of this code?" A little less common than "Who wrote this code?" perhaps, but certainly nothing that would raise eyebrows.
    – Robusto
    Dec 16, 2018 at 13:58

6 Answers 6

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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. Feb 6, 2012 at 4:24
  • Books often have co-authors. If I wrote pseudo code and handed it off to someone else to write the functional code, I believe they would be the author and I would be the co-author.
    – Speeddymon
    Jul 19, 2021 at 17:11
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Yes, but it must be used judiciously and rarely to avoid sounding pretentious.

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  • 11
    I'm a software auteur
    – mgb
    Jan 14, 2012 at 4:39
  • @mgb - LOL! You should promote yourself to software maestro. Jan 14, 2012 at 14:57
  • I prefer software stylist (c.f. Punchline) Jan 23, 2012 at 10:06
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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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  • 2
    The same holds for Javadoc: /** @author Zaphod Beeblebrox */ Jan 14, 2012 at 13:38
  • But does this refer to the author of the documentation, or of the code? Jan 14, 2012 at 14:57
  • @JamesMcLeod it refers to the author of the file/class/method/function the docblock is documenting. Jan 14, 2012 at 16:25
  • 2
    @JamesMcLeod Always the code author(s), in my experience
    – Gnawme
    Jan 14, 2012 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. Jan 14, 2012 at 19:31
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Here is an example of poetry in Perl. Flexible syntax allows to write so.

https://gist.github.com/1610861

Yes, programmers can be called code authors.

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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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It certainly used to be; "Author" is a reserved word in Cobol used in the Identification Division like this

Author: Ben Large.

to record the name of the programmer. I haven't come across it in any other language I've used and I've never heard people referring to themselves as Software Authors but you could claim the Cobol convention as a reason for using it if you want.

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