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Everyone's a Coder Now: Reading and Writing Technical Code
Everyone's a Coder Now: Reading and Writing Technical Code
Everyone's a Coder Now: Reading and Writing Technical Code
Everyone's a Coder Now: Reading and Writing Technical Code
Everyone's a Coder Now: Reading and Writing Technical Code
Everyone's a Coder Now: Reading and Writing Technical Code
Everyone's a Coder Now: Reading and Writing Technical Code
Everyone's a Coder Now: Reading and Writing Technical Code
Everyone's a Coder Now: Reading and Writing Technical Code
Everyone's a Coder Now: Reading and Writing Technical Code
Everyone's a Coder Now: Reading and Writing Technical Code
Everyone's a Coder Now: Reading and Writing Technical Code
Everyone's a Coder Now: Reading and Writing Technical Code
Everyone's a Coder Now: Reading and Writing Technical Code
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Everyone's a Coder Now: Reading and Writing Technical Code

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These slides were part of my presentation in session H.18 "Writing text, writing code, writing connections" at the Conference on College Composition & Communication (4Cs) in Atlanta, GA (April 2011). …

These slides were part of my presentation in session H.18 "Writing text, writing code, writing connections" at the Conference on College Composition & Communication (4Cs) in Atlanta, GA (April 2011). More information at http://bit.ly/gQpszQ

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  • 1. Everyone&apos;s a Coder NowReading and Writing Technical Code<br />Julie Meloni<br />University of Virginia Library<br />CCCC 2011 // 8 April 2011 // Atlanta<br />jcmeloni@virginia.edu // @jcmeloni<br />
  • 2. about Critical code studies<br />CONTEXT<br />N. Katherine Hayleson Media Specific Analysis:<br />“all texts are instantiated and that the nature of the medium in which they are instantiated matters”<br />From “Print Is Flat, Code Is Deep: The Importance of Media-Specific Analysis”<br />
  • 3. about Critical code studies<br />CONTEXT<br />Lev Manovich, Matthew Fuller, et al <br /><ul><li>We investigate and interrogate cyberculture, digtal culture, new media – the effects of software – but not the cause of those effects.
  • 4. Look at the programs that produce those outputs, through “software studies.”</li></li></ul><li>about Critical code studies<br />STILL A PROBLEM<br />No one was looking at the code.<br /><ul><li>Binary or Machine code
  • 5. Assembly languages
  • 6. Procedural languages
  • 7. Object-oriented languages
  • 8. Declarative programming
  • 9. Literate programming</li></ul>It’s like living in the Roman Empire without knowing Latin.<br />
  • 10. CRITICAL CODE STUDIES WORKING GROUP<br />Six weeks in Spring 2010 <br /><ul><li>Critiquing viruses
  • 11. Annotating code
  • 12. Live reading live code
  • 13. Investigating “who reads code”
  • 14. Interrogating “what is code?”</li></li></ul><li>CRITICAL CODE STUDIES WORKING GROUP<br />Critical Methodologies<br /><ul><li>Context of the software
  • 15. Coders, development history, funders, research questions, language, paratexts, social and economic effects
  • 16. Software itself
  • 17. Procedures, structures, programming paradigm
  • 18. Individual lines
  • 19. “elegance”, whitespace, clarity, variable names, methods and functions, efficiency, recursion</li></li></ul><li>CRITICAL CODE STUDIES WORKING GROUP<br />Critical Methodologies<br /><ul><li>Issues for Consideration
  • 20. Social implications, world representations, aesthetics, impact on race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, socio-economic status
  • 21. Tactics
  • 22. Reading form vs content, considering implementations in multiple languages, reading code against output, reading instructions against data, reading code against real world processes</li></li></ul><li>THE PROGRAMMER’S OBJECTION<br />“those who have more experience or even make a living programming or teaching programming worry about making ‘too much’ of particular lines of code”<br />A call for a more rigorous examination of the code itself:the context, clarity, efficiency – what non-programmers aren’t wired to examine.<br />
  • 23. WHO READS CODE?<br />mathematicians reading for beauty<br />craftsman reading for elegance<br />customers reading to make a purchase decision<br />managers reading for quarterly job evaluations<br />hackers reading for exploits<br />amateurs and hobbyists and students<br />...making their first web page<br />...copying some other script kiddy<br />...or just trying to learn to think differently<br />lawyers and expert witnesses<br />...looking for a DUI acquittal in a breathalyzer<br />...impugning the code or security of a voting machine in a recount<br />...trying to define an IP violation in an open source OS<br />easter-egg hunters<br />...collecting trivia from code<br />...harvesting data and media assets from code<br />...indexing business contacts from code<br />...participating in ARGs and viral marketing campaigns in code<br />
  • 24. WHO READS CODE?<br />Everyone reads code because code is all around us.<br />source code written and read by humans -&gt; <br />compiled code executed by machines -&gt; <br />&quot;technical code&quot; or “the unexamined cultural assumptions literally designed into the technology itself“<br />From Andrew Feenburg’sAlternate Modernity<br />
  • 25. WHO CARES ABOUT CODE?<br />Is the (technical) code<br /><ul><li>functional
  • 26. virtuous or deceitful
  • 27. conscientious or negligent
  • 28. egalitarian or discriminatory</li></ul>Community Practices:<br />Sharing code / Performing code / Forking code<br />
  • 29. WHO WRITES CODE?<br />Everyone writes code, knowingly or not.<br />
  • 30. Remember, we built the machines<br />Human-Computer Interaction<br /><ul><li>an attempt to discover specific methods for the efficient and productive use of machines based on the ways in which humans interact both with machines and with each other</li></ul>Achieving Symbiosis as a Goal<br /><ul><li>&quot;men will set the goals, formulate the hypothesis, determine the criteria, and perform the evaluations&quot; while the machines &quot;will do the routinizable work that must be done to prepare the way for insights“ (Licklider in 1960)</li></ul>Man must architect the system before the system can function.<br />To &quot;architect&quot; is to plan, organize, and (finally) build a machine, system, or process. <br />We all do this, knowingly or not.<br />
  • 31. CONTINUING ARGUMENTS<br /><ul><li>Despite different audiences, intent, and perlocutionary effects, writing and code both represent and construct the world.
  • 32. Composition and rhetoric (as a field) has much to offer the world of programming.</li>

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