November 17, 2018

Perspectives On Building Systems

As a child I dreamed of being an inventor or design that solved real problems for real people; and made money while doing it. Unfortunately after a semester in college it became clear that the form of “capitalism” that houses modern corporations is all about shuffling paperwork. And it’s within that system that modern engineering exists.

The true builders, creators, and rennaisance men/women often don’t exist within this system.

Content is King, Context is Queen.

The above statement isn’t exactly intended for this subject. It’s the child of Instagram and Youtube creators. But it illustrates how important context is. Generally speaking, women are more naturally sensitive to this reality, while us men have to be reminded to an extent.

Having dabbled in a handful of programming languages (while trying to find a technology skill that would land me my dream job), it was fascinating looking at the way various computer technologies were able to leverage context to be really good at a certain thing. At the time the big buzzwords were Domain Specific Languages (DSLs) and Functional Programming. One thing led to another and I quickly found myself drawn to concatenative languages. ie Forth, and its derivatives.

It was small, and incredibly simple. Had a nice underdog kind of story behind it, and its creator was a force to be reckoned with. Chuck Moore had that unparalleled level of focus to build his own tools from scratch. But what really caught my attention is this. Forth respects what computers can do, and what they can’t do. It respects the programmer’s ingenuity, while offering a smart method to build software.

And for some reason or another, this set of concepts have struck a deep chord.

Truth Bleeds Red 2018