A Better Alternative to Code Reading


I have started code reading groups at the last two companies I’ve worked at, Etsy and Twitter, and some folks have asked for my advice about code reading and running code reading groups. Tl;dr: don’t start a code reading group. What you should start instead I’ll get to in a moment but first I need to explain how I arrived at my current opinion.

As a former English major and a sometimes writer, I had always been drawn to the idea that code is like literature and that we ought to learn to write code the way we learn to write English: by reading good examples. And I’m certainly not the only one to have taken this point of view—Donald Knuth, in addition to his work on The Art of Computer Programming and TeX, has long been a proponent of what he calls Literate Programming and has published several of his large programs as books.

Read more at Peter Seibel’s blog.