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Thursday, June 26, 2014

My take on coding

Writing code for computer systems is, yup, writing!

Turns out that writing well is kind of hard.

If you look around the globe at writers you have an interesting lot who help make things happen, and I think the idea that coding is writing is something that gets lost when people are trying to get more young people to write computer code.

And make no mistake, I think more young people should write! But it might actually help just as much to have them do creative writing, and here's why:

Think of a computer as a really big intelligent genie who will try to do ANYTHING you tell it.

All you have to do is instruct this wonderful genie, but even if you screw up, the genie will try it anyway!!!

So you need to tell a Great Story, where the genie will follow this story to a wonderful ever after--or at least, get your desired tasks done.

Coders have to have a certain attitude as you're in control.

Like writers in other formats you are THE BOSS, what you say goes, absolutely. It is an absolute dictatorship within your writing zone, or at least your blocks of code, but if you're supervised they'll review it. And if you write fiction your editor presumably--as I've never had anyone but me edit--will presumably muck up your work, shift things around and irritate you greatly.

So certain kinds of people are writers. I think more people should be writers. And the sooner they start the better.

But make no mistake, you want a kid to code she or he needs to learn to tell a story.

And learn to get that magical genie called the computer through to a fairy tale ending where users aren't pulling their hair out and screaming at their computer screens.

So it's actually kind of like: when you write computer code exceptionally well, then EVERYBODY gets to live happily ever after, or at least until they bump into the next thing that life throws at them.

Of course, trouble is, few coders write that well, so millions of people around the world are probably screaming at their computer screens RIGHT NOW because some coders couldn't get that computer genie to that fairy tale ending.

But life goes on. It's a beautiful thing.

And if you read this far--thank you for appreciating my writing! If you didn't appreciate it, what's wrong with you! You should have stopped sooner.

Writing is what I do. And I am a coder. Writing and I get along. It's like, WRITE, yeah. I write. And going to stop writing for this piece now.


James Harris
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