Is Programming Art?

July 7, 2005 at 9:50 pm | Posted in John Littler, Programming | 3 Comments

I am back…. Have been wanting to write for quite sometime now… so here goes…

Art and Computer Programming by John Littler — One of the great theoretical debates in computer programming is “Is programming art?” There are creative components certainly, and aesthetic aspects occasionally, but do programming’s functional concerns push it more toward craft or engineering? John Littler recently cornered several well-known hackers for their opinions on the subject.

Littler borrows from the likes of Paul Graham, Stroustrup etc.. And though he does recognize that there are contraints with computer programming such as the Language restrictions, Coding Standards, Practices which bog down the creativity and limit the freedom of the programmer. Littler then steps back and takes programming as the complete set of the {Idea, Design, Implementation} and lo behold, you have numerous avenues for art in the first two stages.




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  1. Yes! Infact each piece of code is the portrait of sorts of the person who wrote that code, I feel.–>

  2. Even an art like drawing a portrait has it’s limitations and constraints. Dots, straightlines, curves… there is a limit to the possible micro-elements, and the number of colors too ( however large be the number).

    Art is the way these limited elements are combined into infinite possibilities.

  3. @decoded – well… totally.

    Well, what I mean is that however limited the micro-elements may be, expression is unbounded…. freedom to express….

    But I do feel that imposition of way too many standards and rigid guidelines may impair this freedom of expression. I am not revolting agianst standard or authority here. I am merely saying that let guidelines remain guidelines and not become instructions. Flexibility with a structure can still lead to some wonderful results….

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