Is Computer Coding Writing?

Is writing computer code simply writing in another language, like Turkish or Russian? As a writer of fiction in English, by writing I mean the activity that many say they are compelled to do. I’m also a computer programmer so I know the ins and outs of a few computer languages. Certainly, computer programming is putting word after word in an intelligible way. There are rules of syntax to follow and misspellings cost dearly. So perhaps some of the mechanics of writing fiction (or non-) and code are similar.

There are vocabulary choices in coding. TheFirstNumberIWillUse = 5 or mynumber = 5 or x = 5. Some coders are more descriptive than others and embed their comments directly into the code writing. This indicates a hint of style and with familiarity a coder’s style can be identified.

One difference between writing fiction and code is the audience. There is only a minuscule audience for code, yet the audience for the result of that code might be extensive. Coding is a results-oriented activity. Whereas when writing is most often mentioned it is a – choose your own word – soul-searching, chronicling, fact-finding, expressive….

This is not a compelling question for most people. I’m just trying to discover the difference between writing 1000 words of prose and writing a grocery list.


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