OT: hacking and painting

Richmond Mathewson richmondmathewson at gmail.com
Mon Aug 3 09:36:50 EDT 2009

Ian Wood wrote:
> An essay I just came across which I thought might be particularly 
> appropriate for this list.
> http://www.paulgraham.com/hp.html
> "If I had only looked over at the other makers, the painters or the 
> architects, I would have realized that there was a name for what I was 
> doing: sketching. As far as I can tell, the way they taught me to 
> program in college was all wrong. You should figure out programs as 
> you're writing them, just as writers and painters and architects do.
> Realizing this has real implications for software design. It means 
> that a programming language should, above all, be malleable. A 
> programming language is for thinking of programs, not for expressing 
> programs you've already thought of. It should be a pencil, not a pen. 
> Static typing would be a fine idea if people actually did write 
> programs the way they taught me to in college. But that's not how any 
> of the hackers I know write programs. We need a language that lets us 
> scribble and smudge and smear, not a language where you have to sit 
> with a teacup of types balanced on your knee and make polite 
> conversation with a strict old aunt of a compiler."
> Sounds like a good description of Runrev to me...
> Ian
> _______________________________________________
Very Good!

The thing I really like about RunRev is that there are almost always 3 
or 4 ways to achieve something.

I normally 'write' the most important bits of my programming when I am 
asleep; and when I awake
I have the algorithm in my head in a sort of amorphous form which I then 
program in RunRev,
norammly, also, fairly amorphously. But, RunRev is fairly forgiving and 
tolerates my amorphisms,
gently nudges me when they are too far off the beaten track, and treats 
me gently.

It always escapes me why people want to program is "real programming 
languages"; i.e. ones
that are horribly strict, look like telephone bills, and when one comes 
back to them 3 years
later nothing makes any sense at all.

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