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Re: I am (not) a ...

by Elgon (Curate)
on May 12, 2004 at 11:41 UTC ( #352697=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to I am (not) a ...

I always tend to be very wary of threads or articles which attempt to place programming in the context of "art" or some other unquantifiable realm: Not necessarily because I don't think that Perl or any other programming language cannot be artistic, but mostly because it seems so rare that it ever is. There certainly are some pieces of code which transcend the barrier between what is essentially a list of instructions and an object of beauty: Erudil's Camel Code being one, the Perl RSA Dolphin another.

The simple fact is that when I have to script for work I simply have to hack out a workable solution absolutely as quickly as possible - this results in code with a very limited set of cases which it can handle, but as better than 90% of the work I write (in Perl, C or Ksh) is thrown away afterwards this is rarely a problem. This is far from art, so I certainly would not describe myself as an artist. Indeed, the majority of the programming I see is similarly far from art - it is eminently pragmatic in most cases and has little to do with some of the elegant, beautiful code I have seen elsewhere.

I don't see this is a fault or as being bad per se, just as art has its place and the solid, dull, dependable has its place. I see the code that is art as being subtle and elegant like fencing, whereas the majority of the actual work I see is more like brawling - crude and ugly but gets the job done just well enough.

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"Stercus! Dixit Pooh. Eeyore, missilis lux navigii heffalumporum iaculas. Piglet, mecum ad cellae migratae secundae concurras."

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Re: Re: I am (not) a ...
by rje (Deacon) on May 18, 2004 at 16:17 UTC
    And likewise, the vast majority of my jobs have been in code maintenance: not a sexy image there, but really, most of life is routine. That doesn't mean it has to be boring (although it usually is: I work with Java).

    And too, I don't see much artful in most code I've written and/or maintained. Rather the opposite: unless a system was designed "well" (for some value of "well"), I'm quite wary of it and worried about it.


    "Shaa!" ekshiish Pooh. "Eeyore eksisasguke ma paadurkakshingi sigadasurak in ekhirgarimguke melam ka Heffalump. Piglet shekhurakimguke ka angiin saamakengi kardami-ak."

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