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Humanist Archives: Dec. 7, 2018, 6:31 a.m. Humanist 32.251 - pubs: teaching coding

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 32, No. 251.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                   Hosted by King's Digital Lab
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        Date: 2018-12-06 21:03:05+00:00
        From: lachance@chass.utoronto.ca
        Subject: Teaching Coding, Inculcating Care for Craft


A short accessible piece by Joe Morgan on the question of whether to teach
coding to children has appeared in Slate. One of its themes is about
cultivating and appreciation for quality.

Of course, getting something working is just the first step of building
software. The next step is to make code clear, reusable, and neat. Once,
early in my career, I wrote a feature and gave it to a senior developer
for review. He took one look at my sloppy spacing, mismatched lines, and
erratic naming conventions and just said, “Do it again.” It was working.
The syntax was valid. It was still wrong. Good coders don’t just get
something to work. They want it to be good.

That feeling of quality is the hardest thing for many developers to
master. Well-designed code feels good to work with, and ugly code will
make developers involuntarily cringe. The best developers learn to fuse
abstract logic with the sensitivity of an artist. Learning to trust that
aesthetic feeling is as much a part of development as any algorithm or
coding pattern.


Francois Lachance

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Editor: Willard McCarty (King's College London, U.K.; Western Sydney University, Australia)
Software designer: Malgosia Askanas (Mind-Crafts)

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