Can Code Be Considered Art?

Now that right there is
a question for creatives and programmers alike. This topic has been
a matter for discussion in hostelries and coffee bars throughout the
creative world for some time. Art is beautiful right? And even if
it’s not, it is still visual and designed to create an emotive
response in the eye of the beholder. But code? Code sits quietly in
the background, unseen and unknown until it fails to do it’s job
properly. Can these plodding and reliable lists of instructions,
written in languages based on commands, demands and back slashes
really been considered art?

Well, it appears
that some people believe it is. After all, you can’t paint a canvas
without a paintbrush, and you can’t make great web art without great
code! Ergo, as a component in an overall piece it must to be
considered part of the artistic process and therefore “art”.

In its most simple form
good code must offer functionality, performance, maintainability and
be cost effective. What works well for one application, may not work
for another. The job of the programmer becomes one akin to the job
of the designer or the artist. Coders become “makers”.

Coders produce
remarkable things:- they craft essays out of strange and mysterious
programming languages like C# or Javascript, that not unlike the
literary classics, demand elegance, precision and knowledge of their

Vikram Chandra (a
former computer programmer and consultant), takes up this topic and
runs very fast with it in his book “Geek Sublime”. In fact, he
likens the art of code to a 9th century Indian word
“Dhvani” meaning “resonance” or “that which is not spoken”.

Code is
explicit. Art can be irrational and some of the most important things


But the virtues of
beautiful code may not be in the end result but in the process
itself. Yukihirio Martsumodo (creator of the Ruby programming
language) writes that “beautiful code is really meant just to help
the programmer be happy and productive”. So does a happy
programmer mean an more arty end result? Who knows?

If we assume that Art,
by its very nature serves no real purpose to the viewer, coding can
never really be art as every piece of code is only there to serve a
particular purpose.

So, in summary –
there is no summary! Not from the this short blog anyway! To go
into the finite details of what makes great code, or whether code is
art would take way more time and effort than we have here.

But what we will say is
that every single component of making a great looking, responsive and
fully functional bespoke website for your business, can be taken care
of by us at GT Creative. From initial layouts, to coding, to graphic
and logo design right through to social media and direct response
marketing campaigns – we’ve got it covered. Call us on 01277
or click here to contact us by email.

November 25, 2014 | Laura | Posted In : Web Design
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