11th September 2015

You’ve been fooled all your life, software isn’t science it’s art


Yes you read it right. It’s not science. 

Yes it’s all about 0s and 1s and a state of the art Turing machine, that processes instructions and returns a result… but that’s where science ends, and art begins!

When we talk about science, and about a scientific process we can assume that we can follow a set of instructions to get a predetermined result, and it’s a fact we use algorithms to develop code. But saying that software is just code (even if it’s really good code) is like saying that Mona Lisa is just a bunch of well executed brush strokes. 

Well, in fact we can say that it is… but is it just that? If software is really just science we could create an algorithm to pre determine that a piece of software will be so good that will turn viral, and please millions of users… like Flappy Bird…

Wait what?

Yes, a simple game, made by one guy, out of nowhere got the attention of millions. Flappy bird is an example that software shouldn’t be measured just by code. Like art, it has a lot of different dimensions and the mere complexity or just how hard it is to do doesn’t give it value by itself.

If you now still think that software is science, please close this page. We’re done.

If you think this is snake developer oil, we’re also done.

If you’re still reading, great, let me show you that this isn’t as crazy as it sounds!

It’s simple to see that this is a real thing. This simple knowledge is what made Apple have the status it has today. You don’t see Apple advertise technical specifications of its products. Apple advertises something that is made to touch us and mess with our feelings. Do you know what’s funny, let’s just check how art is defined on the dictionary:

“the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.”

That’s what most companies miss. Software is supposed to do things, but it can only be great if targets the “heart”, not the “brain”.

I’m a Google fanboy myself and even them, who started from “the ring of science rules them all” perspective, are now converging to art. Didn’t noticed? Check again.

Unfortunately a lot of software companies still see developers as are the new pipeline factory workers. They try to hide it but the naming really gives them away:

  • Software factories: Craftsmen have studios, not factories.
  • Programmers or Software Developers: Not software craftsman

I could go on…

At WIT we challenge the status quo. We push ourselves to think, plan, develop and release art.

As we work for major worldwide IT players we balance a difficult line: handling deadlines and releases for millions of users while thinking art, not just code. This challenge is what makes our day.

Have you heard of Illusion of speed? Basically we are tired of seeing infinite loadings on every single app. We are changing it, we want to deliver an awesome user experience. This almost insignificant change is one of the points we push from code to art.

The funny thing is that no one needs to tell you that a painting is good. No one needs to tell you if a sculpture is good. And now no one will be able to just convince you an app is good, because now you know, it’s not the 0s and 1s that matter, it’s the art!

That’s what we like to do.

Pedro Vicente

Android Software Craftsman @ WIT
(or as you hear elsewhere Senior Software Engineer)

blog comments powered by Disqus