Writing and Programming: More alike than you may think (Part 1)

I always have such ambitious plans for the semester breaks: books to read finish, lesson plans to revamp, furniture to refurb (finally gave up on that one–can someone just take me to Ikea?), trips to take, people to see… sleep to catch up on (Yeah. Right).

Maybe I need to look up the definition of “break.”

Along with a laundry list of other things, one item on my summer to-do list is learning Ruby on Rails. I am frustrated to realize that I remember precious little about object-oriented programming (Uh, what’s a class again?), so I’ve basically resigned myself to starting back at square one.  I’m trying to convince myself that this is a good thing.

While working with Ruby this past week, I started noticing several core principles that can apply to any type of programming language.  I grabbed a sheet of paper, and as I continued to work, I started jotting them down.  As the list grew, I suddenly realized that these were all things I already knew… based on my background writing and teaching writing.

I’m not going to make the argument that computer programming codes and linguistic codes (writing) are the same thing. Clearly they’re not. But the writing processes of  programming languages and human languages actually might have more in common than you think.

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