infovore + inform   2

Inform: Past, Present, Future
"I mention Knuth because, of all the Old Masters of computer science, he is the one most interested in the relationship between computer programs and texts. Could we even suggest that a program is a text? It is, after all, a written expression of creativity. Certainly, when running, a computer game can be an artistic experience in the same way that a film, or a play can. But my concern here is not whether the program is art when it runs. I’m talking about whether its source code is a text. We could go down a bit of a rabbit-hole here about playful literary theories. Umberto Eco once reviewed a new Italian banknote as a work of art, describing it as a numbered, limited edition of engravings. But let’s concede that a functional document like a shopping list or a spreadsheet of student names is not a literary text. On the other hand, a recipe by a literary cook like Elizabeth David might be art, even though it also has function. Perhaps the relevant question is: can we experience a program as a text? Can we, in the fullest sense of the word, read it?

A cynical answer might be that if program source codes are texts, why can’t you buy them in a bookshop?" Graham Nelson on a potted history of Inform, and then its future. The second half may be less interesting to you, but the first half is a fantastic piece of writing on literate programming, source-code-as-art, and the nature of languages. I loved this.
design  infocom  inform  if  grahamnelson  programming  donaldknuth  literateprogramming 
10 weeks ago by infovore
Rule-Based Programming in Interactive Fiction
Andrew Plotkin on some of the design of Inform 7, and rule-based programming as it applies to IF. Long story short: everything is exceptional, and designing systems to support the kind of stories IF authors want to tell is hard.
programming  games  design  language  parsing  rules  if  interactivefiction  inform  inform7  parser 
july 2009 by infovore

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