July 10th, 2012

Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes.

– Edsger Dijkstra

My quest is to minimize friction between peoples’ intent and machines’ ability to execute it. I see great value in streamlining thought processes to better align problems and solutions. Discord between the two is often at the root of software complexity.

I believe we write code for ourselves and others, not computers. Machines are implementation details which execute any contortion that compiles. The art of coding is figuring out how to say what we mean.

In my experience, more money is spent reading and understanding code than writing it. Extracting meaning from existing code has a high potential for bad inferences and rabbit holes. Even our own work can mystify us over time. When it comes to reading code, an ounce of why is worth a pound of how.

The most valuable code presents a clear statement of intent. In the short term, this forces us to examine our rationale and color within the lines of the problem. In the long term, it yields systems which evolve gracefully and imply their own future possibilities.

As a friend and fellow developer once said, "I love software because it is a microcosm of life."

My name is Bryan Watts. I am a software author living in Reston, VA. I have a degree in computer science and currently work as an architect and mentor. I truly enjoy teaching and learning from other developers and try to do so every day.

I am active on Stack Overflow and you can find me on Twitter at @deftcode.

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