View Poll Results: What is programming?

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  • Purely an art form - it's the beauty in the code that matters (functionality, too, of course)

    3 20.00%
  • Purely technical - as long as it works and can be maintained, it can be as ugly as it wants to be)

    3 20.00%
  • A mix - Good code may sacrifice elegance for functionality or laziness, and vice-versa

    9 60.00%
  • Duh.... I dunno...

    0 0%

Programming as an art

This is a discussion on Programming as an art within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; So, is programming an art form? We all know everyone writes their programs differently, with different comments, different approaches, and ...

  1. #1
    Mayor of Awesometown Govtcheez's Avatar
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    Question Programming as an art

    So, is programming an art form? We all know everyone writes their programs differently, with different comments, different approaches, and different compilers. When it comes down to it, though, we're really just trying to accomplish the task at hand as efficiently and perfectly as possible. So: Programming - purely technical field, perfectly artistic, or a mix?

  2. #2
    ggs
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    I was at a MMORPG forum, and there was a lot of arguing from programmers and nonprogrammers alike about whether programming was an art.

    It came to a single point that I agreed with:

    Programming is a craft at most times, like building a table or a bookcase. But you can make a table beautiful when you build it, elegant... And coding is like that too.
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  3. #3
    No Genius That's For Sure
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    Originally posted by ggs
    I was at a MMORPG forum, and there was a lot of arguing from programmers and nonprogrammers alike about whether programming was an art.

    It came to a single point that I agreed with:

    Programming is a craft at most times, like building a table or a bookcase. But you can make a table beautiful when you build it, elegant... And coding is like that too.
    I really like that analogy. I never thought about it in just those terms- but I think it fits very well.

    I've seen cheap crappy tables that break easily. Or great big huge tables that are as sturdy as all get out- but don't try to move it around.

    And there are different tables for different purposes.

    Yes very nice picture that anyone can relate too. We all know that furniture must work- but if it can be beautiful too- well that's a bonus.
    He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep in order to gain what he cannot lose.

  4. #4
    Mayor of Awesometown Govtcheez's Avatar
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    Both of your analogies are really accurate, I think...

    My "desk" at home is essentially one of those folding tables you set out at parties and stack food on. It's got plenty of room for all my stuff, is super solid, but it's ugly as all get out and won't travel easily to other rooms (OS's) without removing my things (OS specific code, I guess)

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    nice i like that analogy...
    my table is smoot and strong made of metal and wood no crap on the top of it to get in the way of my computing....AHHAAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHH!!!

  6. #6
    Linguistic Engineer... doubleanti's Avatar
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    my table is wooden and aged (i'd like to think)... time tested... mother approved... and kids like it too! (uhh... too much TV...) it's antiquated by you newer OpenGL and DX tables... but it's one I'm damn proud of... the one I'll bring to our meeting... my sweet DJGPP table... (now with Allegro-fortified supports too...yay for me...)
    hasafraggin shizigishin oppashigger...

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    woot for you... but i have no DX table or a djgpp table... i have the more powerful

    an OpenGL table and a CodeWarrior table ahhhhhhhhhhhh the sweet sound of it...

    BTW: CodeWarrior is the friggen tightest compiler ive ever seen...
    Same DLL:
    MS release DLL 180k
    CodeWarrior release DLL 60k (maybe if that much and thats not really optimized either)
    oh the glory...

  8. #8
    geek SilentStrike's Avatar
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    How is code art?

    Can you take source code, frame it, put it in a museum, and captivate the minds of endless onlookers? I don't think so .
    Prove you can code in C++ or C# at TopCoder, referrer rrenaud
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  9. #9
    Mayor of Awesometown Govtcheez's Avatar
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    Yeah, but acting and writing are considered arts, and neither of them can be hung in museums...

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    >Can you take source code, frame it, put it in a museum, and captivate the minds of endless onlookers?
    I don't think so

    ever heard of a printer? hehehhe

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    No Genius That's For Sure
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    Originally posted by SilentStrike
    How is code art?

    Can you take source code, frame it, put it in a museum, and captivate the minds of endless onlookers? I don't think so .
    You make a couple of incorrect assumptions here- one has already been pointed out. Not all art is hung in galleries.

    The other incorrect assumption is that in order for something to be art it must "captivate the minds of endless onlookers".

    A lot of great art never gets a lot of recognition. Or sometimes that recognition is delayed.

    I think that writing code is flexible enough to allow for style. There are enough algorithms out there that 'get the job done' that which one is chosen can be a function of more than pure efficiency.

    Is it high art? Well if you agree that there is such a thing- probably it isn't. But there are aspects of writing code that are very artistic.

    To me- when I have to go work on something, someone else wrote a year or two ago- and I see that it is indented properly. Well, what could be more beautiful?
    He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep in order to gain what he cannot lose.

  12. #12
    geek SilentStrike's Avatar
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    Well, style != art either.

    I probably (ok, not me, but someone else) may dress with style, but I cannot see how it involves art.

    While I agree that programming involves more than simply on deciding the most efficient algorithm for a task, I don't see how it's art.
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    No Genius That's For Sure
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    Originally posted by SilentStrike
    Well, style != art either.

    I probably (ok, not me, but someone else) may dress with style, but I cannot see how it involves art.

    While I agree that programming involves more than simply on deciding the most efficient algorithm for a task, I don't see how it's art.
    I will give you that and say that your well put argument moves the discussion into an area that is too subjective for me. I would say that the question has become "What constitutes art as opposed to style or fashion?"

    And if you think that code is not flexible enough to be art- I can respect your opinion. It is not often that I give the more liberal interpretation to something-- so I am going to savor this moment.
    He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep in order to gain what he cannot lose.

  14. #14
    ggs
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    Coding is hardly engineering either.

    As an engineer, when you build one bridge, you can use that plan exactly to built a dozen other bridges.

    You'll rarely find a parallel in programming.

    Have you never seen elegant code, a piece of code tight and optimized yet neatly laid out? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...

    DEFINE art.

    Art is considered by some to be stuffing objects into rabbits and hanging them up to rot for twelve days. Yes, in Canada you will see many strange and disgusting government funded pieces of "Art". One guy got a grant for making a network of Basic stamps powered by rotting grapefruits @_@

    Is art something that captivates your mind? Some bits of code are fascinating, they captivate the minds of those who are able to appreciate it.

    Hell, some peoples mind's are captivated by a display of rotting rabbits.

    Just tell me how you would define it...
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  15. #15
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    what is art?

    I think coding algorithims can at times be extremely artistic. I find it hard to believe that anyone who frequents this forum has never looked at a piece of code and admired it's beauty (many recursive solutions for instance). That's basically how it boils down. Elegant code is beautiful, and we admire the programmer/artist's intelligence, insight, and creativity. The programmer can communicate through his code. This equals the art lover's relationship with the painter, photographer, or filmaker. We can recognize the simple beauty in elegant code and describe it with the only word that can really do it justice, art...

    mxr
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