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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • Excellent point. Having come from a fine-art background myself I have always been annoyed with these types of comparisons, because they almost always miss the ways in which programming is actually like $something_that_is_not_programming. Especially high level comparisons like this, they always fail once you look at the details. Fact is that programming, like anything you do, can be an aesthetic act if you choose to make it one.

    - Stevan

    • Well, maybe the comparison fails when you drill down to details. So be it. They're not the same thing.

      But the interesting thing about the comparison is that you keep two thoughts or concepts in your head and then suddenly discover new ideas in one or the other which you didn't think of before.

      If that's all you get out of the exercise, that's still plenty.

    • In a way I agree with you. I's annoying when the details don't match and people still keep trying to infer too much from the analogy when some things clearly aren't they same.

      It's like the tired, programming-isn't-like-building-a-house/bridge/brick wall analogy, as if these things are completely well known and explored and repeatable whereas software development isn't. Usually stated by programmers who don't know how to do either of these other things.

      I once read a thread on Reddit that went down this route

  • Actually, streching the analogy a little, you could liken improv to making your test suite test for some unlikely/scary test cases no one in their right mind would think of, in which case it might indeed improve it. Or you might think instead that a perfectly logical and rational mind should come up with evry meaningful teat case in which case I guess the analogy breaksdown completely... your pick ;--)

    For me though, one of the great joys of having modules on CPAN is having people contact me with questions a

    --
    mirod
    • I don't understand why some people vigorously defend the untenable position that programming is art. There can be artistry involved and it is often a creative practice, but what's wrong with considering programming a craft?

      • Well if we go with Wilde's idea that "All art is quite useless" which expands to basically say that art exists only to be beautiful so cannot have a use as that would spoil the beauty of it, then all of Acme:: would be art? And everything else a craft?

        To be serious though, the problem I have is being able to define "art" and then define "craft" based on that. Art has be defined and redefined over the centuries and will continue to be so and at this point I think Wilde's idea is pretty much completely out

        • ... art exists only to be beautiful ...

          Did you mean "meaningful"?

          ... so cannot have a use as that would spoil the beauty of it...

          More likely there is an intrinsic quality of art beyond any functional considerations. A plain chair is functional. A filigreed throne is also functional, but it contains art. Similarly, you can use a piece of cardboard to shim a wobbly table, or a Botticelli, but that doesn't make the Botticelli not art.

          To be serious though, the problem I have is being able to define "art

        • Art is what’s supposed to evoke an emotional reaction.

          • Trolling is art?

            • Yes! This is quite funny to me as it hadn’t occur to me to think of it that way. But in a sense it clearly is, or at least can be. Most of it is equivalent to a crayon scrawl more than to a Rembrandt, though.

      • I don't understand why some people vigorously defend the untenable position that programming is art. There can be artistry involved and it is often a creative practice, but what's wrong with considering programming a craft?

        I think art is more like a craft than it is like art, personally ...

        • You're probably right, especially when it comes to really good art. Too many novices believe that natural talent obviates the need to practice their crafts. I certainly did, as a beginning writer.

    • ...meaningful teat case...

      I feel another analogy coming on...

  • My personal favorite high-level comparison (which I first heard discussed in depth by Neal Ford [nealford.com]) contrasts programming to civil engineering.

    In civil engineering (e.g. bridge building), construction costs dramatically outweigh design costs. Civil engineers aren't cheap, but their proportional cost relative to the bridge materials and construction labor are small.

    In contrast, the construction steps in software are largely automated: compilation, packaging, making installers, downloading, installing. Your pr

    • Just as software design is much more than pretty GUIs, architecture is much more than pretty buildings.

      Architecture is also a craft though. It doesn't matter how pretty anyone considers the Portland Building [wikipedia.org] or the Stata Center [wikipedia.org] if the buildings don't actually work.

      Compare that to The Rite of Spring [wikipedia.org], which I don't like, but few would claim it doesn't meet the definition of art due to any functional flaws (and what are those anyway, dissonant bassoons?). De gustibus non est disputandum, tamen de laboratum

    • With the rethinking of the relationship
      between design and construction brought about
      by radical approaches like XP,...

      I wonder what the present status of architectural
      analogies like those based on Alexander's
      Design Patterns is.