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Is Software Art?


I was reading Architecture by Sir Thomas Graham Jackson tonight to see if and where the parallels between real Architecture and Software Architecture are.  I was struck by the amount of art that is imbued and intertwined with Architecture.  As he says:

So two workmen will do the same thing, but will do it in a different way.  The work of both may be useful and serviceable, but that of one will show thought and imagination, suggestive of further progress; that of the other will be correct, but dull and commonplace, leading no further.  The one man is an artist, the other a mere mechanic.

Am I a mechanic or an artist?  I consider myself a Software Architect, but that would mean I’m an artist.

Where is the art in software?

Where is the beauty in software?

Is it from the graphic designers? NO.  They are like interior decorators in my opinion.  They make our buildings look nice to the inhabitant.  We make the structure.

I can tell you where the beauty in software is:

  • TCP/IP
  • The World Wide Web

We have something called elegance in software.  There are elegant solutions and brutish solutions.  I propose the elegant ones are where our craft becomes architecture.  Something sustainable, something that will stand the test of time.  Something to be copied.  That is what Software Architecture is.

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About Leonard Woody
Software Engineer

One Response to Is Software Art?

  1. Pingback: WASDeTT 2010 : 3rd International Workshop on Academic Software … | Software Engineering Addict

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