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

  • As opposed to a mere "coder"... – GEdgar Jan 14 '12 at 21:41
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    Conversely, could book authors be called developers? :) – djeidot Jan 17 '12 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 '18 at 13:58

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.

  • 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 
  • 2
    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
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    @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.


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.


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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