why is this an interesting subject? provides one aspect of the life of programmers, more about their concrete occupation than about their depiction from outside

arts&craft movement have a profound distrust for the machine: that’s a difference but a belief in “free” craftsmanship, which could echo stallman

craftsmanship/handicraft as opposed to manufacture the instinct of worksmanship + the place of the individual (but also not quite an opposition, a strange kind of contiuum)

also meritocracy! (same source as above, p.234)

The logic of this technology, accordingly, is the logic of the ma- chine process, — a logic of masses, velocities, strains and thrusts, not of personal dexterity, tact, training, and routine. In the degree in which the information that comes to hand comes encumbered with a teleological bias, a connotation of personal bent, it is imavailable or refractory imder this logic

from early handicraft, personal, polyvalent, to late handicraft, specialized, technical

1 - professed similarities

this section inquires about the possible similarities on craftsmanship and software development, taking a historical look at both categories, and concluding a sub-category which might provide a link: building and architecture.

a - overview of how software developers view their relationship to craftsmanship

b - parallel throughout history

a specific time: late middle ages/renaissance, before automation happened, after the times in which craftsmanship was disregarded socially

c - commentaries today: architecture

2 - knowledge and value production

after having elucidated in what broad respects software development might be like craftsmanship, we highlight one specific aspect which asserts interesting tensions (both similarities and differences): knowledge acquisition and transmission

a - knowledge in traditional craft

b - knowledge in software development

c - diffuse knowledge, hobbyists and amateurs

3 - aesthetics

at the heart of knowledge transmission and acquisition stands the practice, and inherent in the practice is the good practice, the beautiful one. this section investigates the aesthetics of code within the broader context of the aesthetics of craftsmanship, highlighting how code can act as a material.

a - the aesthetics of craftsmanship

the question of style

b - the aesthetics of code

c - code as material


there are some self-proclaimed similarities, but the most reliable/salient ones come from architecture and aesthetics, making the case for code as material.