Long before I was a computer programmer I was an essay writer, a songwriter, a poet. When I discovered Perl, I found the transition to programming very natural. I had always played with computers, back to the IBM PC and Macintosh circa 1984. My first program was in BASIC, in 1985. It was a ‘choose your own adventure’-type program. Even then, I wanted to combine prose with code. It was just Making Stuff with Words. I didn’t differentiate.

chromatic suggests Perl programmers can improve their code by thinking in terms of sentences and paragraphs. Best practices. Makes perfect sense to me. When my friends ask me about my work I tell them I’m a writer, that a good piece of Perl code has the same structure and thought behind it as a well-written essay, and that I practice the art of writing every day. It’s just that the language I write in is Perl, not English. I know my metaphor is lost on most non-programmers. But I trust some people understand.