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10:01am on Thursday, 22nd May, 2008:

Lacking in Understanding


So, today I'm going to rant about an article in today's Guardian technology pull-out. Here it is:

This is the editorial section of TechnologyGuardian. That being the case, why have they allowed some non-technologist to write it?! Are they going to get an engineer to do the editorial for the (much larger) Saturday Review section? No, of course not! It's apparently fine, though, to get someone who can't program to tell you programming is destroying his capacity for reflective thought. Maybe if he'd reflected on that, he wouldn't have said it.

Firstly, creating web pages is not programming. If creating web pages is programming, doing a crossword puzzle is writing. Doffing your cap to the wonders of high-order coding doesn't get you off the hook. If you'd truly experienced that, you wouldn't be calling what you were doing "programming".

Secondly, these complaints are all about syntax, whereas programming is about semantics. If you really can't remember where to put the semi-colons, and you don't have a Guardian sub-editor to add them for you, then choose blogging software that does syntax checks as you write. Or, being a programmer, write you own.

Thirdly, the next time you want to write something like this, consider: a) what your overall message is; b) who you are saying it to; c) what they will think as a result. The answer this time round: is a) programming is soul-destroying; b) people who can program; c) you're talking out of your backside.

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Copyright © 2008 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).