Literary Theory looks at readable code

Programming is a human communication activity. We want to minimize misunderstandings in our code to be able to work effectively as teams. This means we need to learn how to look at our code to spot areas where we could improve our communication skills. We want to get our ideas across. We want that our abstractions, our models, make sense to others. Literature is a discipline with a long track record of authors and researchers trying to find out how to make writing communication effectively. What could we learn from them?

In this talk, Alvaro will explore the relationship between the process of writing computer programs with that of writing literary works of fiction. In particular, he will show some ideas presented by Umberto Eco in his book Lector in Fabula, seeing how we can improve knowledge sharing via our code, tests, documentation, and other artefacts.

THIS TALK IN THREE WORDS

Language

Literary Theory

Programming

OBJECTIVES

The goal is to learn the skills required to help others understand how we made decisions about the tradeoffs in our code, like choosing abstractions, deciding on the level of performance required, or the amount of documentation needed for a project.

TARGET AUDIENCE

Programmers & researchers interested in language/literature

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