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Postmodern programming   22 Dec 04
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Mathieu Bouchard emailt me this: First, I found this interesting (and wild) paper about Postmodern Programming:

www.mcs.vuw.ac.nz/comp/Publications/CS-TR-02-9.abs.html

Apparently, this has been believed by many as a hoax, and so has been linked to the famous Alan Sokal hoax (the paper "Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity").

However I think it’s more like: a serious article written in a tongue-in-cheek style and talking about an unusual topic.

Other authors i know who are writing about postmodern programming, are Larry Wall (Perl) and Richard Gabriel (new online book "Patterns of Software"). These days I am attempting to read the latter.

Richard Gabriel’s work on software patterns, and for that matter, all the work on software patterns for the last decade, has been tremendously influenced by a book supposedly on Architecture (!!!), by Christopher Alexander, called "The Timeless Way of Building".

Both C.Alexander and R.P.Gabriel spend a lot of time on an elusive concept they call "Quality", which I immediately connected to Robert Pirsig’s "Zen And The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" (1976), a classic I finally read this year. The connection between the two is quite large (Pirsig’s book even more revolves around that "Quality" thing). It has to do with attempting to define the undefinable, in particular, those aspects of a thing that make it good and/or beautiful but that, trying to approach them from a formal standpoint, slip through our fingers.

There are a bunch of other interesting aspects (IMHO) in all of those texts.

 

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