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Long thought-provoking essay on programming


Long thought-provoking essay on programming

Victor wanted something more immediate. “If you have a process in time,” he said, referring to Mario’s path through the level, “and you want to see changes immediately, you have to map time to space.” He hit a button that showed not just where Mario was right now, but where he would be at every moment in the future: a curve of shadow Marios stretching off into the far distance. What’s more, this projected path was reactive: When Victor changed the game’s parameters, now controlled by a quick drag of the mouse, the path’s shape changed. It was like having a god’s-eye view of the game. The whole problem had been reduced to playing with different parameters, as if adjusting levels on a stereo receiver, until you got Mario to thread the needle. With the right interface, it was almost as if you weren’t working with code at all; you were manipulating the game’s behavior directly.

When the audience first saw this in action, they literally gasped.

--- End quote ---

Very intriguing essay indeed. I'm, in my new job, trying to map this story to the way software is developed here since around 10 years, and I have found a fair bit of overlap already. Motivating stuff :Thmbsup:

Stoic Joker:
Fascinating and incredibly well written.

[grumpy mode]
While interesting, it does sound a bit like the concept of UML: "the model is the code". That was supposed to revolutionize how software was written, as people would only design their application and UML would automagically create the code.

The result was messy code and far from optimized or optimizable. And that will have disastrous effects on a similar way as people creating a solution in Excel for their department and then wonder why it doesn't work fast enough when deployed for the whole company. Access in Microsoft Office is also such an example of poor scalability.

The concept behind the essay I do like, but having seen the results of generated code and being subjected to it, color me very unimpressed. Now this was some 10 years ago and as always, with the passing of time almost everything improves, so maybe now this concept might work.
[/grumpy mode]

Interesting article. It really makes the case for programming languages with formal verification, especially with regard to mission-critical software such as transportation and finance. One such upcoming language is Michelson.


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