Code is poetry?

code

People which uses WordPress as self hosted system surely visited wordpress.org. The ones who haven’t done it, should do it. Besides themes and plugins, there are also highly frequented support bulletins. But this is not the topic of this entry but one little line is. In the footer of the wordpress.org website stands “CODE IS POETRY”. It rings good but the contrary is the case.

The term in a figurative sense also a certain quality. Thus one speaks about the “poetry of a moment” or a “poetic film”, referring to the rule that of the signified pose a the language withdrawing, or go beyond such effect, something carbonated, like from a poem, the a everyday language withdrawing effect unfolds. – Wikipedia

The most important thing for us is part of the definition : the everyday language withdrawing effect. Specifically, this means that the spoken or written word pretending to be something that it is not. It can be ignored, and even breaks current grammatical rules. That means that anyone who reads a particular piece of poetry, anything goes and tries to interpret purely his view of things.

Interpretation, grammatical inaccuracies or hidden meanings are exactly the opposite of what good code is made of. Code must be clearly structured, followed by a clear logic and consistent syntax. If code would be poetry, a developer would not understand it. But fast understanding is one of the most important things in this profession.

WordPress suggested by the prominent saying “Code is poetry” some artistic liberties. If this phrase set as “Prime Directive “, subordinate regulations can be inherited only from this. WordPress itself fails within the first few pages of their own documentation against its own directive and writes (more or less) precise rules for writing code (PHP, CSS , JS and HTML).

As written above, good code comes from clear structures, simple logic and consistent rules. Every team for itself automatically defines these rules – either in a dynamic discovery process or through structured discussions. The result is a codex , as WordPress has given himself one.

“Code is poetry” but also means that the code is a kind of art. The question is whether there are any more artistic license if certain conventions are specified. The answer is simple: Yes.

For example the architecture. There are fixed constants in the architecture – the static and basic physical laws. To be used for construction timber, attack other structural standards than for reinforced concrete. The building itself can nevertheless be designed according to your own ideas.

In code, it behaves exactly the same. For certain problems there is not “the” solution but a hundred different ones. If code is a kind of art, then, that different paths for the same solution can be used and you have to work out the easiest and fastest way. Code is therefore a blueprint that describes the construction of various buildings.

Therefore it should not come to poetry, but encryptions . Code must match the statements, what it does. To point it out: An array with the name $info does not say much. An array named $pluginHeaderInfo reveals this much more .

The sentence on wordpress.org should not be “code is poetry”, but ” Code is a blueprint”.

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Thomas is a WordPress-Developer, who always thinks beyond the tellerrand. Born 1985 and living in Düsseldorf, Thomas loves to play games, enjoys cooking and creating music.

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Comments

2 Comments

  1. #1

    I took the phrase to mean something more to the effect of “Writing code is like writing poetry”. There are multiple ways to write the same thing, sometimes the best way isn’t the most apparent. There is elegant code, quick and dirty code, boring code, interesting code. While not a 100% accurate metaphor, I still think it’s a deep comparison.

  2. #2
    a-wweeb-developer

    I have to do some WP customizations right now. And after haven seen some WP code and been working with it 2 days, I asked myself: “Have that not been the guys, that wrote “Code is poetry” on their website many years ago? Holy shit! What a crap! They should try to understand coding as a handicraft and re-write the whole thing from ground up. It is redolent of osCommerce…

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