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Re: Engineering versus Science, Anecdote versus Evidence ... [

  • From: Michael Kay <mike@saxonica.com>
  • To: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
  • Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2011 08:16:46 +0000

Re:  Engineering versus Science
On 30/12/2011 01:41, David Lee wrote:
> IMHO the art of software is often invisible to nearly everyone but the creator.

Indeed. Like the fine carvings in inaccessible places in a cathedral, 
invisible to everyone but the creator and the Creator.

I take great delight in the internal poetry of code: making the source 
look good on the screen, eloquence in the choice of names, choosing the 
elegant design over the banal and obvious one. A joy of working for 
myself is that I don't have to try and rationalize why I do this; a joy 
of writing open source is that the enjoyment can be shared by others. 
This is definitely art rather than engineering, but I like to think that 
the pride in craftsmanship has beneficial side effects on the 
engineering metrics of the final artefact.

But all this is an indulgence; it doesn't pay the wages. It's what a 
good craftsman does, but not what he is paid to do. The day job is 

There is also art, of course, in what is exposed to users: the external 
visual design. But that's a different question, and one where I have 
very little competence.

Michael Kay

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