Why Linguists Are True Code ArtistsFiled Under Thought Stuff
After reading a few chapters of Software Creativity 2.0, my post Software Engineer vs. Code Artist came to mind. With abundant talk about how creativity is art, I thought there must be one example even I (in my dogmatic ideal) could agree is an example of code artistry – linguists.
Computer languages are as elegant as spoken languages with an additional twist of mathematical beauty. People like Alan Kay and Dennis Ritchie are pivotal to the evolution of computer languages. Smalltalk and C are cornerstone languages even today in modern OO languages such as Java and C#. This means, by nature, the maximum elegance of any solution is bound by the language that we use to create it.
This is a very important point to make because if we boil everything down to linguistics we will find that there exists both practitioners and artists. For example, I am bound to writing in the English language. As a result, I am reduced to what I can fully represent even while writing this post. Furthermore, just because I am using the English language does not imply that I am an artist or even a good practitioner of it.
This is where I come back around full circle. In Software Engineer vs. Code Artist I was brash saying we are not artists. Developers need to wear both hats of engineer and artist. However, I will debate that every developer does not have the right to call themselves an artist when most are not even good practitioners. If literature has writers (that write grammatically correct and artistically) then code must first have engineers and then artists. It is improbable that great artistic pieces of code can be produced by someone who as not mastered the grammatical aspects of their language or understand best engineering practices.
Art is the product of passion. Passionate developers learn new engineering processes. In turn, it will be the passionate engineer that turns into the artist.