Thoughts on software and life.

Sunday April 6


Thinking about the process of developing creative works, and the feelings they produce in the people who experience them.

Pieces of digital craftsmanship can be frustrating. Beautiful pieces look good, but are often static, impossible to manipulate, and impractical. Interactive pieces feel good, but are often boring to look at and completely useless. Useful pieces are often neither beautiful nor interactive. It is sad how infrequently I encounter a creation that meets all three criteria.

The problem begins with the people who create these objects. Are you an artist? Are you an engineer? Are you a producer? Creators feel specialized, concentrating mainly on one dimension. Rare is the team that synergizes all three, even rarer is the individual who can.

The problem manifests itself in the languages, tools, and APIs available to developers. Some try to combine all three, others are explicitly specialized. Too often they are quite restrictive along one creative axis. Amazing trickery evolves to twist the language to do things it wasn't designed to do.

The holy grail is a language that facilitates the trinity of beauty, sensation, and usefulness, while following the old rule, "easy to do easy things, possible to do difficult things". The languages I have experience using (C++, HTML, CSS, XUL, Javascript, Java, Flash, etc...) often fall short in one of these areas. I'm dreaming of something new......

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