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Art as Software, Software as Art

I’ve been working on some techie posts and it struck me that I never write any of the posts that would be called ‘soft skill’ posts. I focus on the tech because I love the tech, but I was doing an internal interview last week and the interviewee said something that rekindled thoughts I had had from a while ago about the nature of development itself.

If you ask a dev why they develop you’ll get a load of different answers; some claim it’s for the money, some claim it’s for self-growth, some claim it’s for the love of it.

But secretly I think we all develop because it’s a form of creativity that scientifically minded people can use to express themselves.

I also think that the industry has made an effort, unconsciously, to squeeze that concept out of the sphere of software production. Creativity, inspiration and agility isn’t conducive with fixed profits, which is a harsh way to look at it, but the way that the whole industry has gone.

The thing is, even though some development has become prescriptive, and personally I don’t like that trend (if your tool gives you Duplo Lego bricks to put together, everything looks like Duplo Lego), devs still get the same buzz about that working compilation, the first time your webpage returns anything other than a 404 (or a 503 if you’ve been particularly clumsy), the first time something connects to something else.

At least I do, and that’s why I do it; years of the little endorphin rush of seeing that compilation work (and yes, I will admit that if I’m doing a problematic build I will put the terminal in the background – I still think that watching it will make it fail).

But back to the point of the post; we do tend to forget that Software is Art; we are creating things from nothing, crafting something new and exciting (well, most of the time; if I write *one* more Hello World applications, regardless of what language or platform, I will bang my head on the desk until I can’t remember the 1000+ Hello Worlds I’ve done).

We lose sight of this and sometimes I think we need to remember that developers are artists. One of the things I push for is tools that allow us to be artists, and hopefully we can share some of those going forward.

Right, back to tech….

By utherp0

Amateur thinker, professional developer

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