words make world(s)..
That language is an instrument of human reason, and not merely a medium for the expression of thought, is a truth generally admitted.
Tue Jul 8 18:09:53 2014 - permalink :: #Charlie -
- G. Boole
The limits of your language are the limits of your world. (j'aurai dit l'inverse, mais ça revient au même ø:)
- L. Wittgenstein
Finally, let's talk about programming and programming languages. Most of the quotes below are lengthy, and come from emminent computer scientists (or just fantastic programmers) who are trying to communicate what programming is about and why it is so fascinating to them.
The programmer, like the poet, works only slightly removed from pure thought-stuff. He builds castles in the air, from air, creating by exertion of the imagination. Few media of creation are so flexible, so easy to polish and rework, so readily capable of realizing grand conceptual structures. Yet the program construct, unlike the poet's words, is real in the sense that it moves and works, producing visible outputs separate from the construct itself. It prints results, draws pictures, produces sounds, moves arms. The magic of myth and legend has come true in our time. One types the correct incantation on a keyboard, and a display screen comes to life, showing things that never were nor could be. ... The computer resembles the magic of legend in this respect, too. If one character, one pause, of the incantation is not strictly in proper form, the magic doesn't work. Human beings are not accustomed to being perfect, and few areas of human activity demand it. Adjusting to the requirement for perfection is, I think, the most difficult part of learning to program.
- F. Brooks ("The Mythical Man Month", pages 7-8)
It's [programming] the only job I can think of where I get to be both an engineer and an artist. There's an incredible, rigorous, technical element to it, which I like because you have to do very precise thinking. On the other hand, it has a wildly creative side where the boundaries of imagination are the only real limitation.
- A. Hertzfeld (original Mac programmer)
When I speak about computer programming as an art, I am thinking primarily of it as an art form, in an aesthetic sense. The chief goal of my work as an educator and author is to help people learn how to write beautiful programs ... My feeling is that when we prepare a program, the experience can be just like composing poetry or music ... Some programs are elegant, some are exquisite, some are sparkling. My claim is that it is possible to write grand programs, noble programs, truly magnificent ones! ... computer programming is an art, because it applies accumulated knowledge to the world, because it requires skill and ingenuity, and especially because it produces objects of beauty. Programmers who subconsciously view themselves as artists will enjoy what they do and will do it better.
- D. Knuth (Computer Programming as an Art. Turing Award Speech 1974)
A good programming language is a conceptual universe for thinking about programming. A language that doesn't affect the way you think about programming is not worth knowing.
- A. Perlis
A programming language is a system of notation for describing computations. A useful programming language must therefore be suited for both description (i.e., for human writers and readers of programs) and for computation (i.e., for efficient implementation on computers). But human beings and computers are so different that it is difficult to find notational devices that are well suited to the capabilities of both.
- R. Tennant (Principles of Programming Languages, Prentice Hall, 1981)