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Code is poetry. But not literature.

WordPress has been known, among other things, for coining the phrase “code is poetry”.  It’s used in the footer of their website as well as quite a bit around the web.  This goes along with Donald Knuth paradigm of Literate Programming.

Turns out, some people disagree.  Most recently, Peter Seibel, the author of “Coders at Work” book of interviews, wrote this blog post titled “Code is not literature”.

It was sometime after that presentation that I finally realized the obvious: code is not literature. We don’t read code, we decodeit. We examine it. A piece of code is not literature; it is a specimen.

It’s an interesting read, filled with quotes and references to some of the smartest people in IT and Computer Science.

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