The iterative processes of programming

According to Graham, the iterative processes of programming – write, debug (discover and remove bugs, which are coding errors), rewrite, experiment, debug, rewrite – exactly duplicate the methods of artists.

“The way to create something beautiful is often to make subtle tweaks to something that already exists, or to combine existing ideas in a slightly new way,” he writes. “You should figure out programs as you’re writing them, just as writers and painters and architects do.”

Attention to detail further marks good hackers with artist-like passion, he argues.

“All those unseen details [in a Leonardo da Vinci painting] combine to produce something that’s just stunning, like a thousand barely audible voices all singing in tune. Great software, likewise, requires a fanatical devotion to beauty

aligns what programmers and authors do and makes them – somehow, eventually – the same.

code must be “absolutely beautiful”

SOAP (Symbolic Optimal Assembly Program) that “reading it was just like hearing a symphony, because every instruction was sort of doing two things and everything came together gracefully.”

Greg Wilson, editor of Beautiful Code (2007)

Programmers have about craftsmanship, elegance, and beauty, there is an unmistakable tendency to assert, as Wilson does, that code is as “eloquent” as literature.

A formal qualities of language – simplicity, elegance, structure, flexibility



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