Art Inquisition: Beautiful Code?
Okay, monkeys, this one’s for you.
I often hear the phrase “beautiful code,” but I’m not entirely sure I’ve ever known quite what beautiful means in that context. I’ve seen some beautiful results, is that what beautiful code means? Some might argue that code is simply a means to an end, like a blueprint or structure to get a desired result. (So architecture counts as art but the steps involved [like the blueprint, or the pouring of the foundation] are not.) Others say that the creativity and problem solving involved in getting those lines of text to order your hardware and software to get along and perform exactly the way you want them to is obviously an art.
Perhaps this is part of why it’s so hard to figure out where to start when you realize that you’d like to learn that foreign language called code. (Pick a language, any language! You can do it! WAIT NOT THAT ONE O SWEET JEEBUS)
So what do you think? What is beautiful code? Is it the stuff that works properly, that looks “pretty” in the environment, that is well-commented and plays well with others? Does it have to solve a particularly interesting problem, eliminate a given quantity of alternate lines, utilize a certain number of libraries? Is it the ideas and concepts behind the code, rather than the text itself? Is it enough that the code is not necessarily beautiful but that it creates something beautiful? Do you have any idea what I’m talking about? And finally, can code be considered art?
The ART Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Mad Art Lab community. It used to appear on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 3pm ET… maybe we’ll just try for Wednesdays this go ’round. Make with the comments!