What Makes Code Beautiful?, by Marcel Molina, Jr.

I watched What Makes Code Beautiful?, a presentation Marcel Molina Jr. gave at RubyConf ’07.

Here are my highlights.

A definition of beauty

From all the definitions of beauty he explored, he chose the one from Thomas Aquinas, where beauty is defined with 3 criteria:

  • proportion (economy of size: smallest size needed to do the job)
  • integrity (faculty of being well suited for its purpose)
  • clarity (simple and clear)

Each of those 3 criteria is necessary, and none are sufficient.

The idea is to apply those criteria to our code, so that it becomes ‘beautiful’.

A definition of expert 

He dropped in an interesting quote from a famous physicist:

An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field. –Niels Bohr

In other words, by accumulating mistakes, you gain expertise.

Ruby == beautiful

At the end, Marcel Molina enthusiastically encourages the crowd to give a a warm applause to Matz, sitting in the front row, for the beautiful programming language he has created.



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