Sunday, December 19, 2010

Quick, what does this machine do?

From Dieter Rams, ten principles for good design.

HXA just published A comment adding to Dijkstra on natural language programming:
Software must always be an ‘un-natural language’ because its (ultimate, essential) purpose is different (and particular): it is not communication, it is design. ...

When you look at software, what you see is not a language, it is a
I'll have to come back to this topic at another time, for now take it as a fine weekend inspiration.

[Update: Of course, Lev Manovich comes to mind immediately. From his Info-aesthetics:
Never before a single machine was an engine of economy -- AND the main tool for representation.

[Further riffing off on this idea reveals that our major platform for delivering software is called a (markup) language.]]

1 comment:

hxa said...

Thanks for the link. Here is a little more pondering:

What *is* a machine? It is not a sort of complex mechanism. It is not a physical object. Perhaps we could start by saying it is a kind of elaborated intent, expressed in an objective form . . .

And maybe it is not so much that software is a machine, but that machines are 'software' -- that is, software is the clearest picture we have of what the concept 'machine' means . . .