Code Is (Not) Literature

Peter Seibel writes:

It was sometime after that presentation that I finally realized the obvious: code is not literature. We don’t read code, we decode it. We examine it. A piece of code is not literature; it is a specimen.

His essay seems to stand counter to Jeremy Ashkenas’ presentation I posted three years ago.

I disagree. Seibel misses the symmetry of reading and writing.

The act of writing English often flows and causes a reading to flow. The act of programming rarely flows and is highly analytical, so it follows that a reading will similarly lack flow and require analysis.

Code is simply an unconventional type of literature.