Literate Programming

Literate Programming is a phrase coined by Donald Knuth to describe the approach of developing computer programs from the perspective of a report or prose. The focus, then, is on description (and documentation) of the approach in human-readable form. This is in contrast to the normal approach of focusing on the code.

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Jon Udell: There have been a few implementations of this idea over the years, for a few different pairs of programming languages and publishing systems. But it's never caught on in a big way. I used to think that was because in order to do what Knuth advocated, in the way Knuth did it, you had to be Knuth or one of relatively few others able to think like him. Lately, though, I've come to see that literate programming is happening all around us, albeit differently than we once imagined... Inline comments are one form of expression, but increasingly the code's story is told in (VCS) commit messages and Issue Tracker discussion. That story is often crafted with exquisite care.

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