Code shui, NeoVictorian Computing, and Beauty

Friend Mark Bernstein promotes "software as craft" with the phrase NeoVictorian Computing. Jeremy recalls that "Part of his argument is that software creators have something to learn from the ideals of the arts and crafts movement: the software world is full of soulless bits and bytes, and maybe we would all be a little happier if we embraced handcraft ... During the talk, I remember Bernstein proposed that software creators should sign their work as a painter signs a painting, which is a lovely visual metaphor that I hope to keep around." And Greg Wilson has a book called Beautiful Code.

Happily, I already agree - they're all echoes of my own belief in "code shui", be it XML (a Morbus Rant from 2002 on "why beauty is important in computer file formats") or in code from 2004 ("His style is quite unique. [Morbus' AmphetaDesk] source reads almost like a paper, instead of terse code. He documents his code well and I've thus far found nothing that was very hard to understand. Best of all, its so un-Perl. He doesn't seem to use really clever tricks to do simple things, so the code has been very easy to understand").

Comments

Not what you are talking about but, have you visited "Software Carpentry" ? Your entry reminded me of this guy's course title. Doug Wilson at the U of Toronto has been trying to get the various science departments at other institutions to put on a course for their research-bound students. It isn't for the CS community.
original: http://www.osl.iu.edu/~lums/swc/
current: http://www.swc.scipy.org/
Budget items for programmers are generally cut in the first step of project funding on a more or less routine basis, so the researchers have to get by on the single semester of C they get in the standard curriculum. Department heads pretty much get it but aren't moving forward for one reason or another.

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