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Is Programming Art?

July 1st, 2005 · No Comments · Coding & Web Development

Vincent van Gogh

Is programming art? This is a very interesting question that ONLAMP has an article about:

What the heck is art anyway, at least as most people understand it? What do people mean when they say “art”? A straw poll showed a fair degree of consensus–art is craft plus a special degree of inspiration. This pretty much explains immediately why only art students and art critics at a certain sort of paper favor conceptual art. Conceptual art, of course, often lacks a craft component as people usually understand the term.

My goal here is to discover whether programming is art and whether there’s anything useful to discover by regarding it as an art. Can the concept get us out of tight corners or resolve issues? Can it help to produce killer apps?

My goal is also to find out what some accomplished programmers think

Well, it obviously is art ;-). I myself think it *can* be art. When you’re alone hacking away at your computer trying to make it do something cool while making fast, readable code. This requires intuition and is of my opionion art.

However, typing out someone else’s functional design (*yahn*) definatly isn’t art. You’re just a drone doing exactly what someone else tells you. In case you’re wondering, functional designs themselves aren’t art either. They are akin to expressing an idea of what a painting should look like, without actually painting it. It does not make you an artist.

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