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Happy Programmers Day!

Today is Programmers Day, and I take a moment to reflect on a couple of folks who have inspired me in my growth as a programmer. 

Happy Programmers Day! Today is the 256th day of the calendar year, and to those programmers amongst us, 256 is of course a significant number, in that it’s the total number of different values that can be stored in 1 byte.

In other words, in a single byte, a range of values between 0 and 255 can be stored, or more pertinently, in binary, that’s a range of values between 00000000 and 11111111.

So 256 is represented as 2^8, or 0x100. It’s a nice enough round number to determine when to celebrate Programmers Day, right?

If there’s one thing programmers do, it’s learn from each other. And speaking for myself, I’ve learned from so many other folks out there – whether that’s from poring over their code line by line, listening to them give a talk, or reading one of their articles or blog posts.

Moreover, there are a number of people who have really made an impact, and inspired me in ways that have never left me. These people have, directly or indirectly, changed the way I think, for the better.

I was lucky enough to be asked to record a short video with my thoughts on this, and I picked out a couple of folks who came to mind immediately. There are many more, but one of the constraints is that this video had to be 60 seconds or less, so there you go.

You can watch the video here:

I thought it might be useful to put the transcript here too, just in case you prefer to read. Here goes:

Hello, my name’s DJ Adams, and I’d like to talk about a couple of folks who’ve inspired me as a programmer … to be constantly curious & share knowledge about programming with others. I still enjoy doing that today, especially in my role as Developer Advocate at SAP.

The first is Jon Udell, writer for the fabulous BYTE magazine, author and big thinker. His approach to solving problems with software was amazing; I still remember the moment I read one of his articles about running a web server LOCALLY on a laptop, unheard of then. Now it’s completely normal.

The second is Randal Schwartz, the original “Just Another Perl Hacker“. Through his articles in tech magazines back in the day, he taught me not only about Perl, but about Open Source, and showed me that sharing knowledge about programming is win-win.

Their writing and knowledge sharing are embedded in my DNA and influences what I do here at SAP.

Like I say at the end, I’d love to know who has inspired you, and why – please feel free to put your thoughts on that in the comments to this post, and perhaps even publish a post here on the SAP Community yourself. Let’s use the hashtag #programmersday, too.

Happy Programmers Day!

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  • The most beautiful thing about the programming community is the willingness to share knowledge and help people, it is a collective mission for us all to get better together. 🙂 Happy Programmers Day!

  • Happy Programmers day!! This is a great idea - giving kudos to those that inspire. I have an ex-PWC consultant named James Small to thank for my start in the SAP world and for sharing his key knowledge way back when. Very grateful and has always inspired me to share my knowledge.

  • So I'm not a developer myself, but I can say I am grateful that all of you who are programmers are continually inspired to learn more and develop new software, because without all of you, I would have no job! (and the world would be a much different place) Happy Programmers Day!

  • Ah, this is a great one! For me the ones that immediately come to mind are:

    Mike Bostock - Creator of Protovis and d3.js, among other things, who really showed me what it was to use programming to apply a novel conceptual approach to a problem. d3.js was one of my favorite libraries to learn because it required learning a new way to think about a problem with big payoffs.

    Martin Fowler - One of the people I followed in my Ruby days from whom I learned a lot of concepts around testing, development practices, and application architecture.

    And then, yes, of course all of those community heroes mentioned above, developers or not, like the great DJ Adams, Thomas Jung, Tammy Powlas, Thorsten Franz, Jocelyn Dart, Sue (who?) Keohan, Anne Petteroe, Richard Hirsch and the whole old ESME team. So many people in this community have taught me so much about being a developer while also demonstrating time and time again how to be an excellent person who cares about others.

    Thanks for this blog DJ. Great idea.

    • Cheers Ethan, great thoughts. Yes, there are always too many folks to list - and I was limited to 60 seconds. My inspirations come from so many people.

      Talking of folks outside the SAP ecosphere (like Mike Bostock) who have also made me think differently, bending my brain somewhat, Rich Hickey, father of Clojure, comes to mind too.

  • Great way to setup a programmer day (1 bite = 256)!

    I am not a programmer but I am glad to congratulate you all that makes the system purpose happens. Every second of development dedication is responsible for a better run of business and a better service or products delivered in everyone's life.

    Thanks to all programmers!

  • This is a very nice initiative to appreciate great people.


    My list would be too long, because I learned so many things from so many people. They might not be world famous super stars, but still excellent in many ways. For example my friend Dieter Aelker showed me how to look for great solutions instead of settling with good ones. Dagmar Ludwig taught me to look at broader implications of my technical choices. Chris Pierce gave an example of combining solid programming expertise with communication and business skills. And the list goes on and on.


    Then of course the SAP super stars made a huge impact on me too. Thomas Jung showed me a quality, which I didn't even know it existed... DJ Adams is amazing in inspiring to share in such an authentic way.


    My experience is that it's easier to get inspired by people who I met in person, then just reading a fantastic book. Nobody is asking for my advice ;-), but still, if I may. I would suggest everyone to go out, join SAP and of course non-SAP events too to meet more heroes.


    cheers to all programmers!

  • In addition to the above mentioned developers, I was especially inspired by Robert C. Martin and Martin Fowler. They have shown me new ways to create great and extandable/maintainable solutions.

    The people who inspired me at the beginning of my development career are mostly retired and not "famous". But for me they are heroes! Rainer, Gerhard, Hans, ... - I will never forget, what they have done for me.