[NetBehaviour] Code Is Not Literature
marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Thu Jan 23 13:29:13 CET 2014
Code Is Not Literature - or is it?
I was browsing Slashdot as one does and found a link to an article
called ‘Code Is Not Literature’.
As I was reading this I was thinking of Mez and Alan Sondheim, and
thought to myself - surely, if someone turns it into literature, then it
Anyway, have a read and see what you think…
"Hacker and author Peter Seibel has done a lot of work to adopt one of
the most widely-accepted practices toward becoming a better programmer:
reading high quality code. He's set up code-reading groups and
interviewed other programmers to see what code they read. But he's come
to learn that the overwhelming majority of programmers don't practice
what they preach. Why? He says, 'We don't read code, we decode it. We
examine it. A piece of code is not literature; it is a specimen.' He
relates an anecdote from Donald Knuth about figuring out a Fortran
compiler, and indeed, it reads more like a 'scientific investigation'
than the process we refer to as 'reading.' Seibel is now changing his
code-reading group to account for this: 'So instead of trying to pick
out a piece of code and reading it and then discussing it like a bunch
of Comp Lit. grad students, I think a better model is for one of us to
play the role of a 19th century naturalist returning from a trip to some
exotic island to present to the local scientific society a discussion of
the crazy beetles they found.'"
Here’s Seibel’s original text on his blog
wishing you well.
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