Computer code is not yet art, but it could be. At RailsConf 2010, Neal Ford discusses aesthetics, constraints, creativity, and why the Ruby on Rails community is closer to art than other programming communities.
Code differs from art in that art is ambiguous, while code can't be. Painting became more artistic when photography eliminated the need for realistic painting. Code must always compile and execute to be worthwhile. Some of his characteristics for art are that it demonstrate expertise, that it's for enjoyment's sake, that it has a recognizable style, and that it has a special focus outside of ordinary life. People in the Rails community have creative drive, recognition of excellence, and a distinct style, which makes them closest to realizing this idea of code as art.
Neal Ford is Software Architect and Meme Wrangler at ThoughtWorks, a global IT consultancy with an exclusive focus on end-to-end software development and delivery. He is also the designer and developer of applications, instructional materials, magazine articles, courseware, video/DVD presentations, and author and/or editor of 6 books spanning a variety of technologies, including the most recent The Productive Programmer. He focuses on designing and building of large-scale enterprise applications. He is also an internationally acclaimed speaker, speaking at over 100 developer conferences worldwide, delivering more than 600 talks.
This free podcast is from our Rails Conference series.