A Box, Darkly: Obfuscation, Weird Languages, and Code Aesthetics

Abstract (in English): 

The standard idea of code aesthetics, when such an idea manifests itself at all, allows for programmers to have elegance and clarity as their standards. This paper explores programming practices in which other values are at work, showing that the aesthetics of code must be enlarged to accommodate them. The two practices considered are obfuscated programming and the creation of “weird languages” for coding. Connections between these two practices, and between these and other mechanical and literary aesthetic traditions, are discussed.

(Source: authors' abstract)

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Scott Rettberg