emails from the hackers’ conference

through michael shiloh

fall 2020

tim rowledge

i’ve written code to prove a point in an argument

also, difference between what the code does, and what the code is meant to do

I would contend there is a deep connection between good code and good poetry

mike cowlishaw

he says that anyone can write beautiful code in rexx

a lot of other languages are ugly because they focus on technical implementations of parsers and lexers

he says that comments at the beginning of the code are useful to set the tone for what to expect: “terministic screen” burke

Possibly that assumption [beautiful code requires skills] is wrong – I’ve often seen clear and elegant code, well explained, written by people who were certainly not programmers. On thinking about it, they tended to be eloquent and ‘good writers’ – so perhaps “communication skills” is more relevant here than “programming skills”.

the reason why “toy examples” might be more beautiful than “production code” is that real-life problems are often more complicated (what’s the relationship between complexity and beauty?)

julian gomez

takes the example of 3-tuple or 4-tuple vectors in graphics programming to look for “patterns of black over white”, e.g.:

c x += deltax; y += deltay; z += deltaz;

in order to “relieve the cognitive load”

Overall, what I realized was that even though the language was treated as a stream by the parser, everybody was writing their code 2 dimensionally. This of course often often caused a difference of opinion between the programmer and the compiler.

I contend, without a real solid basis, that code is beautiful when it has a visual flow in addition to control flow.

this thesis is also about providing a solid basis for a statement of this kind.

steve bourne