Art in Programming

code better • have fun

Andy and I gave a talk a JAOO a few years back called The Art n Programming. Since then, I’ve been giving variants around the world, talking about the ways in which developers can learn from artists (and, along the way, how we should avoid the false dichotomy of art vs. engineering).

David Troy came up to me after and said that he’d heard that the Museum of Modern Art in New York might be featuring two of his Rails applications in an exhibition.

Now it’s officialTwittervision and Flickrvision will be on display next year.

In his blog announcement, David says:

Today, creativity and imagination (what some folks are calling the right brain) are becoming the key drivers of software and design. With imagination, we can see around the corners of today’s most pressing challenges. While technical skill is certainly valuable, if it’s applied to the wrong problems, it’s wasted effort.

Creativity, imagination, and artistry help us identify the areas where we should put our efforts. They help us see things in new ways.

Hear hear! I like to think of it as bringing balance back to a process that for too long has been seen as some poor bastard child of mathematics and engineering.

Software development is neither. Nor is it art. It’s just software development. People who look for the “software is like xxx” analogies are missing the point. Software develpment is like software development. Let’s decide what works for us, and have fun while doing it.