Coding is dead
My first experience of coding came courtesy of a ZX81. And later through the ZX Spectrum. On each computer, you didn’t need to type commands. Indeed you couldn’t. Each key represented a shortcut to a command: PEEK, POKE, PLOT, RUN, REM etc. If you were at the appropriate point in a line of programming, pressing a letter would yield a command instead of the letter itself. It was all rather convenient, if, in hindsight, a little limiting.
Then came the BBC Micro. The convenience of shortcut commands was no more. To RUN, users had to press three keys as opposed to one.
The world didn’t end. But at that point, I genuinely believed that programming would never take off.
You see, programming demands syntactic perfection. Commands must be spelt correctly. Semicolons must, where rules demand, feature at the end of commands. Quotation marks must surround certain types of text, and each function commands its own imposed structure.
And with such grammatical idiocy and general shoddiness surrounding us, I was of the belief that programming could never survive. I didn’t think that the general public could reliably be expected, with or without the aid of command shortcuts, to type faultless lines of code.
It was a brief thought during my early teens, perhaps earlier. And maybe it’s a sentiment that I carried forward in my career as a proofreader: no one can be trusted to write faultless English.
Thankfully I’ve been proved wrong. Code abounds, and compilers are technology’s proofreading equivalent.