Showing posts from December, 2006

Source code and education

For a long time I've been interested in how good programmers get that way. Back in 2002 I posted a comment to a mailing list of hackers. This group is the original sort of hackers - people who program for love, not the modern sort who write viruses and try to crack systems. One of them was so taken by it that he posted it on his own website What it says is: If we taught writing the way we try to teach programming ... Imagine if we tried to teach writing (in English or any other natural language) the way we try to teach programming. We'd give students dictionaries and grammar books. We'd lecture them on the abstract structure of stories. We'd give them dreadful stuff to read - only things written by the most junior writers, like advanced underclassmen or young grad students (some of whom can indeed write well, but most of whom are dreadful). We'd keep the great literature secret. Shakespeare would be locked up in a corporate vault somewhere. Dickens would be classif