How Benjamin Franklin Would’ve Learned To Program

How Benjamin Franklin Would’ve Learned To Program by Louie Dinh.

From the post:

Good programming is notoriously difficult to teach. Programming books generally all start out in the same way: “Here is an example of an X, and here is an example.”. Teaching the building blocks is easy. There are only so many. The hard part is teaching the consequences of each choice. The common advice is to write a lot of code to get good. This is necessary but not sufficient. To learn we still need to decide what code to write, and how to improve that code.

We will explore the closely related field of writing to get advice on improving our craft. In many ways programming is like writing. Both are centrally concerned with getting your thoughts down into an easily communicated form. We find both hard because our ideas are densly cross-linked whereas text is depressingly linear. The infinite variety of ways in which thoughts can be represented in text makes learning the art of writing, as well as programming, difficult.

Thankfully, Benjamin Franklin recorded a method that he used to develop proficiency. As evidence of his writing prowess, we need only look at the Amazon Biography best seller’s list. His biography is still one of the best selling books after x hundred years. If that’s not proof then I don’t know what is.

Benjamin developed his method in his early teens and worked hard at practicing his craft. Here is the exceprt with a few added line breaks for legibility.

A better title might have been: “How Benjamin Franklin Would’ve Improved His Programming.”

I say that because Benjamin Franklin already knew the basics of writing but what he needed to learn how to improve the skills he already possessed.

Applying Franklin’s or Hunter S. Thompson’s (The value of typing code) methods to writing require work on your part but lists of great authors abound.

I don’t know of any lists of “great” programs with source code.

Pointers to such lists?

In lieu of pointers, what programs would you recommend as “great” programs? (Care to say why?)

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