Monday, June 01, 2009

Joy in Programming

I responded to a post on another blog ( about how someone complained that the Smalltalk programming language permits the programmer too much freedom and that it's "too easy." The argument against being easy is that if it's too easy the programmer will be able to rush into creating software that is designed poorly. I have a hard time believing it is ever a benefit that something is hard to do. I think this applies to languages like BASIC so I'm copying what I posted there below.
Freedom is essential if you want to live life to the full, and not just in software development. We need to teach what is the best way to live in freedom, not impose a tyranny of suffocating "safety". If we don't build a culture of discipline and excellence then we deserve what we get. If we impose tons of rules to in an effort to prevent people from making mistakes we risk making software development such a burden that few people will want to do it anymore. It should be possible for software development to be an enjoyable activity, and for innovation and discovery to be experienced by newbies and experts. Joy is important in life.

Perhaps I oversimplify, but I hope this communicates an important idea effectively.