between code and design

Hello World

Getting back into blogging.

Hello, dear reader.

For some time now, I've been thinking about bringing this blog back to life. There are many things I would like to write about and hope to get more in touch with other like-minded people. So I looked at the current technical landscape and thought about all these little details, like where do I host this website or what software could I use to write my blog? How should it be styled? What sections should there be? And the list goes on and on...

In the end, non of those technical details really matter. What matters is, that I want to share with you the things I work on and stuff which interests me. Endless hours have I put in coding useful and not so useful things and most of it never saw the day of light. All I hope is, that once in a while, someone out there will find something valuable here, albeit it's likely that I'm just talking to the void.

An old Compaq Presario, built in 1994.

A Compaq Presario, built in 1994. The brick on which I started my foray into programming.
Source: Compaq Presario CDS510 by licensed under CC BY-NC-SA. Cropped and resized.

Every now and then I get the question: "How do you start programming and what programming language is best?" But this is the wrong question to ask. I consider programming itself, the language and the development environment to be secondary to my profession. What I actually do is realizing ideas. I bring abstract ideas onto a blank canvas. I don't consider myself to be a good artist, but I believe the way a programmer works is similar to the way a painter works. He looks very focused and deeply at something, forms an idea of it in his mind and finally tries to paint it. I do the same, except I use a computer instead of a brush. So, whenever someone asks me how to start programming, I ask them about their ideas or what they want to achieve.

A recording of one of my early QBasic programs called 'Wurmfarm'.

WURMFARM.BAS was one of my first programs. A Game-of-Life written in QBasic around 1998.

When I started to program everything was quite simple. For me, there was DOS and there was that intriguing program called QBasic. QBasic was special back then, because the whole documentation about the editor and the language was right there in the editor itself. It was stupidly simple. You could learn the whole language and run your first few lines of code within minutes. That feeling of commanding a computer to do the things you want was really powerful. And it still is somehow, except today there are many, many more concepts to learn, things to dive into, layers upon layers of abstractions to understand, thousands of frameworks, languages and code editors to chose from. Another list which goes on and on... The agony of choice. I actually feel a bit bad for new programmers starting their journey.

But keep going. Programming is just a tool. A way to unleash ideas and fill our blank canvas.