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[Axiom-developer] Literate Programming

From: daly
Subject: [Axiom-developer] Literate Programming
Date: Fri, 23 Dec 2011 23:37:07 -0600

Good Sir and Fellow Traveler, 

On Fri, 2011-12-23 at 03:33 -0800, Adam Getchell wrote:
> Having received the benefit of your kind reply, I must confess to a
> puzzlement which has vexed me ever since I read your missive. It is
> this: how should I have read it so as to receive some knowledge or
> insight with which I had not formerly possessed in the moments prior?
> For in truth I have not been able to discern its helpfulness thereby.

Methinks thou hast conflated the spirit of literate programming, 
intended as a communication medium between fellow traveling souls
on this dark road with the substance of the task involving the
choice of conveyance and walking stick. Replying to the former
'twas I, whilest thou was't addressing the latter. 

We did pass by in our respective darkness. 
Forgive me for lacking light to guide your chosen path.
I mistook your destination for mine own, a grievous fault,
one to which I am ever prone.

> Clearly, as a craftsman of computer algebra tools yourself, you 
> must agree that the selection of implements is of some import,
> lest you abandon that enterprise entirely and use Mathematica 
> instead.

Truly I do quake at the co-opting possible should the fair winds
drift the conversation from the soul of the art to the choice and
heft of tooling. Like the goodly Saint Alexander [1] we need to 
seek the order which contains life. What doth make a program live,
or the building alive, is not to be found in the tooling but in
ourselves. We must eschew the pernicious present practice lest
we find our creation among the dead and dying on Sourceforge.

I have chosen minimal tools for my algebra opus. Latex for
smithing and tangle for forging. I find no need for any other
save the, as yet unrealized, potential of graphing tools.

'Tis not the tools but my poor craftsmanship that constrains 
the quality of the work.

>> The combination of literate + TDD seems forbidding
>  Are you finding it hard to explain why you wrote a test?

In this platonic exchange is made apparent my confusion. The
dross of failures that skins the molten and fluid gold of your
smelting needs but a few words. "Lo, this might arise at the
boundary of my creation." That the dross needeth explaining
to the Smithy new to your endeavor, yet still it certainly
can be conveyed in flowing natural language.

Sharing the tale of the journey, the wonders of the vision, and
the pleasures of final offering depends not on the choice of pen 
but on the craftmanship of language. That the gentle reader
delight in your creation and sing its praises, see the vision,
and dedication lifeblood to its continuance is all. That we might 
achieve such essential Quality [2] with Clojure is the dream.

Sir Tim Daly, Elder of the Internet

[1] Alexander, Christopher 
"The Nature of Order: The Phenomenon of Life"
2002 ISBN 0-9726529-1-4

[2] Persig, Robert
"Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values"
1974 ISBN 0-553-27747-2

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