Donald Knuth. “Literate Programming ()” in Literate Programming. CSLI, , pg. I believe that the time is ripe for significantly better documentation of . Literate programming: Knuth is doing it wrong. Literate programming advocates this: Order your code for others to read, not for the compiler. Literate Programming is also the name of DonKnuth’s book (ISBN One speculation for the reason behind Knuth’s pushing of LP is that according to Stanford’s.

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That is the point of writing a program, to describe the problem to other developers. To document such a program we want to explain each individual part of the web and how it relates to its neighbors. Literate programming Computer-related introductions in Also, while startups may have smaller code bases and thus have less problems with these issues, successful startups eventually do become larger, established businesses with huge legacy code bases think Google or Facebook.

Literate programming

There’s no more prose involved than you’d expect in-line. A Survey,pg. LP is not dead, it just changed its form a little. The Pander R package renders objects into Pandoc’s markdown. Most people I know try to replace comments with very descriptive variable and method programjing – that are easy to change in any IDE.

If the choice is testable, you can write a test case for it. Both iPython notebooks and Rmarkdown are a sort of literate programming, although with the emphasis on the text more than the code. Many programming environments are completely controlled by specific vendors, who may well choose to switch from flat text to rich markup for their own reasons. This means that reading the code is essentially provramming reverse engineering someone’s thought patterns. A preprocessor is used to substitute arbitrary hierarchies, or rather “interconnected ‘webs’ of macros”, [4] to produce lierate compilable source code with one command “tangle”and documentation with another “weave”.

No code will ever tell you why this algorithm was chosen, what are the unobvious consequences of this choice, and which papers should be cited. Literate programming is writing out the program logic in a human language with included separated by a primitive markup code progranming and macros.


Literaet book is an anthology of essays including my early papers on related topics such as structured programming, as well as the article in The Computer Journal that launched Literate Programming itself. You don’t get it Nick – that lump of sand doesn’t understand your code at all.

Macros are not the same as “section names” in standard documentation. The unraveling of the chunks can be done in any place in the literate program text file, not necessarily in the order they are sequenced in the enclosing chunk, but as is demanded by the logic reflected in the explanatory text that envelops the whole program.

But sigh it probably isn’t. Schulte, Eric Kntuh MMIX is the a? Then decide to be a professional and hold yourself to that standard. EliRivers on Aug 16, Software is hard enough as it is, without adding yet another hurdle to get from brain to. From the programming language point of view the most obvious method of identification would be progrxmming use identifiers, resulting in a simple knugh of parameter-less macros, with as only unusual aspect that uses of the macro are allowed to precede the definition, and indeed do so more often than not.

In my experience this literaet is a very good match for a literate programming. Moreover, because an explanation in WEB is intimately combined with the hard reality of implementation, it is qualitatively different from, and far more useful than, an ordinary “specification” or “design” document.

The document should moreover contain fragments literste a program written in some traditional structured programming language, in such a way that they can be mechanically extracted and arranged into a complete program; in the formatted document on the other hand layout and choice of fonts for these program fragments should be so as to maximize readability. And we knuh polish those until When I wanted to understand someone’s design, I read the design bits.

Suppose you need to change it You can just go and read some LP code. Knuth also claims that Literate Programming can lead to easy porting of software to multiple protramming, and even cites the implementation of TeX as an example. It was generally written correctly at the first iteration; the “literate” bit, which was the discussion of design etc. What would a low skill programmer thrust into a Literate programming product result in?


Literate programming – Wikipedia

All code was written in a noweb-style markup, such that a top level of a code section would look something like this: Many real-life codebases are written in a literate style because it makes a real difference on how long it will take for someone new to grok the code. Literate programming is very often misunderstood [9] to refer only prigramming formatted documentation produced from a common file with both source code and comments — which is properly called documentation generation — or to voluminous commentaries included with code.

This gave me some experience with writing a program that was fairly easy to read. But litterate doctests are a pale shadow of what LP offers. The same arguments that were used against adopting higher level languages instead of asm. Of course, other computer scientists have made contributions to the field that are every bit as substantial most notably Edsger Dijkstra, Charles Hoare and Niklaus Wirth.

There are many factors involved in developing excellent software.

But until English can be executed by a computer, you must use programming languages to get the lump of sand to do stuff. Literate programming is useful for ligerate of all sizes.

What’s important is an idea that source code should be written to be read by humans, not only for computers to execute. The language you write in has been developed, at enormous expense, to allow you to express your logic, in a way that you, a human, can understand.

And good enough is what keeps many from using optimal practices. The following snippet of the wc literate program [11] shows how arbitrary descriptive phrases in a natural language are used in a literate program to create macros, which act as new “operators” in the literate programming language, and hide chunks of code or other macros.

It does survive, in a certain sense, in scientific programming and data science. No, code cannot explain itself.