A screenshot of What is Code by Paul Ford

I think I’m more confused than before I read What is Code?

The 38,000-word feat of strength is an impressive journalistic venture that continued to remind me just why my Computer Engineer / Computer Science double major, coder-extraordinaire, twin brother still says he doesn’t know everything about programming.

I think, for me, the educational breakdown occurred in how the article was structured — I’d have rather learned about code through illustration and from the ground up, or at least chronologically. More analogies would have helped too. It was a little to centered on programming languages and their various abstractions for me to get the big picture.

One specific thing I wanted to understand better was the idea of compiling and how written ‘programmer code’ becomes “tokens.” An origin story for software would also have been helpful. Even the corporate narrative was somewhat difficult to relate to.

Perhaps I’m not the intended audience.

On a more positive note though, I loved the photography throughout — it had a consistent theme and the completion picture was a fun touch.

Although, I can say, now that I know what code is, I’ve never been happier to not be working with it.


This short piece is written in response to What is Code by Paul Ford for a Tufts University class, EXP50: Social Media taught by Jesse Littlewood (@j_littlewood) and Ben Rubenstein (@ben_rubenstein).