25 November 2008

Code = Poetry

I was just reflecting on the strong commonalities between these two art forms: poetry, and code (i.e., computer programs). (If you don't think code is an art form, either you aren't a coder, or you are a coder and consider "art" to be a somewhat pejorative term.)

Both are, ideally, elegant and powerfully expressive applications of language.

Each form values both beauty (simplicity, elegance, etc.) and "correctness" (i.e., conforming to practical rules), though probably to differing degrees. A poem may perhaps be valuable if it is beautiful, but conforms to no rules. A program, in theory, may be valuable if it's correct, but ugly. I believe both cases are very rare.

Both are, by virtue of the process that creates them, greater than the sum of their parts (i.e., their words and characters). A good program accomplishes some practical task; a good poem evokes some emotional or spiritual response.

And other stuff, too.

That's all I have to say about that, today. :-) Here are some Perl poems, including:

# Perl Haiku by Bob Meyers

use strict; my @love;
my $wounds = open(FLAME, "of_passion");
foreach () {
push @love "fully";

And you can buy the shirt up top right here.

1 comment:

P3T3RK3Y5 said...

love that quote.

its so interesting how - other than turning the crank on an established process - it seems nearly anything worth doing today requires intuitive judgments - essentially art.

training is important - its good to have tools in your toolbox - but its the stuff that you don't lean in school that is really value added.