Programming is Writing is Programming – Tomas Petricek

In the Salon des Refuses workshop, programming committee members perform an oral review of each paper! Mine is up first, by Tomas Petricek. He has two thoughts about our paper on writing and programming.

Formatting in programming and writing

Here is Mario, from The International Obfuscated C Code Contest

A picture of Mario in C

And this can also be done in writing! Look at this poem by Václav Havel. Every line says: all people will go their own way.

The commonality is that in both you can make it easier or harder to read. And for the above poem it is interesting that the meaning of the poem comes from the formatting. What would that be in programming? What if formatting would be a core part of meaning?

Process of writing

In the paper, we nicely outline steps, but Tomas says that is not how we write. From Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance:

So, are these processes prescriptive or descriptive? These steps are useful to describe the process but not how we do it. A difference is that in programming we are constrained by the fact that the programs have to be executed. What if we let that go?


What if we liberate programming for the tyranny of execution!?