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Re: Difference between code and content

David Wiley wrote:

> Perhaps it has to do with a fundamental difference between code and content, let
> us say prose, for example. While there are almost an infinity of ways to code a
> program so that it fulfills a specific purpose, whether or not it fulfills its
> express purpose is a rather objective matter. Even the subjective part of
> coding, decisions about specific implementation issues, can to some degree
> compared objectively in terms of reductions in file size, memory footprint, or
> execution time. In other words, the improvement of a program is, pardon the
> term, a relatively objective matter.

I'd like to think it was as simple as that, but I don't believe it is.

How does one objectively evaluate whether a software application, say a
game for example, fulfills it's intended purpose? Sure there are some
quantifiable performance and capacity criteria you might apply, but
those are only a component of the purpose of the program. Content has
similar objectives measures: no. of words, pages, diagrams; average
length of sentence, vocabulary etc.

I contend that one objective measure of the quality of a piece of prose
is that of how readily the semantic content is absorbed by the reader.
In the field of technical documentation a lousy technical document is
one that people don't understand, and a good one is one that makes the
content seem obvious (assuming the same degree of factual content).

Would you not objectively evaluate the fitness of a software application
in precisely the same way as the fitness of prose?


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