Wednesday, December 11, 2002

The Poetry of Programming

Sun has an interview with Richard Gabriel, who says that software creation is not purely an engineering discipline.

What do people do when they’re being trained, for example, to get a Master of Fine Arts in poetry? They study great works of poetry. Do we do that in our software engineering disciplines? No. You don’t look at the source code for great pieces of software. Or look at the architecture of great pieces of software. You don’t look at their design. You don’t study the lives of great software designers. So, you don’t study the literature of the thing you’re trying to build.

I think we should.

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Jerry S. Horton

I did.... The best thing that every could have happened to a 19 year old boy that loved building things. I had the pleasure/luck to work with MN's best of breed (old schoolers) before great software works became secret (- pc days - a shame). After that mode of thougt (greed) became the norm, I was lucky enough to work for a (small) company that employed the folks that were old school pioneers/builders; creative, inovative, and new how to apply there pattern language (we did amazing things for the size of our company). I feel lucky to experience this (89-97 (they started in the pc domain in '83... some assemply required)). They were masters of the art (some Dr's 20+ years experience at the time). I am waiting for the oppertunity to enroll in the Master Of Fine Arts In Software program.... I'll be one of many to line up for the enrollment.

Thanks Gab.


Jerry S. Horton


In the early days we/I cranked out "living works" like it was a natural thing (it felt great). Since then I have been in many different software settings, many focussing on "model driven architechture" (design first build sometime). I say more failures than I would like to admit during this period. I have even been critisized for not producing "detailed arch doc's" (true builders are sometimes under rated).... B.S. I have never seen in the (literly hundreds of projects) a successfull build be desinged on paper, built to spec, and fullfull the user need ... for that matter make it to prod (in old school terms "shipped"). When we (team of dev's that spoke that same "pattern language") built software it was always interactive and iteritive, leveraging the end users and business folks to validate our work along the way (iterations).... Leveraging this method we never failed (some of our works lived for 10-12 years... 120 in CS years).

My 2-3 cents...


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