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code animism

I’ve been infatuated with The Nature of Order and KonMari for a while, in part for the same reason: their emphasis on direct perception. I spend a lot of time in my head, which leads to over-theorizing and over-analyzing; a question like “does this feel more alive?” or “does this bring me joy?” can cut […]

attention, joy, connection, and life

I reread The Nature of Order this summer and fall, and I’ve already talked about how the second volume, The Process of Creating Life, has a lot to teach me about to teach me about writing software. The final volume, The Luminous Ground, is more fundamental, more basic, in a mystical way. It’s explicit about […]

how to develop software

All quotes are from The Process of Creating Life, by Christopher Alexander. Emphasis and ellipses as in the original.   The further I went to understand the actual process which had been used to make the tile, the more I realized that it was this process, more than anything, which governs the beauty of the […]

gdc 2009: friday bioware talk

At 4:00pm on the friday of GDC, I attended The Iterative Level Design Process of Bioware’s Mass Effect 2. I went because I loved Mass Effect and because I’m always happy to see the word “iterative” used, but the talk turned out to be an excellent final experience from the conference for a completely unexpected […]

agile processes as living structures

One more Christopher Alexander Nature of Order post, and then I’ll take a break. This is a counterpart to my earlier post about living code (I even repeat some of the examples): this time, I’m focusing on the agile processes that might produce that code. Again, thanks to the Agile Open California participants who helped […]

the j/p split

Today is a warmup tutorial for AYE; the morning session ended with a discussion of Meyers-Briggs personality types. What struck me the most this time was the discussion of the J/P split. This split is related to how you act: the J side (judging, scheduling) likes to have a plan and lists, while the P […]

living code

Today’s Nature of Order experiment: see what the characteristics of living structures might look like when applied to software. Many thanks to the Agile Open California participants who helped me think through this; I’ll have a later blog post that talks about agile and living processes. Levels of Scale This is certainly present in the […]

shadow of the colossus as living structure

When I finished playing Shadow of the Colossus, I was impressed by it, but no more than by several other games from around the same time. Then at some point, perhaps a year and a half later, I was browsing the web and came across a picture of the game. And I gasped, I shuddered. […]

christopher alexander on xp

I was making my way through The Process of Creating Life last night, and was rather surprised to see Christopher Alexander mention XP! Here’s the quote (p. 198); emphasis and ellipses in the original. This chapter was first composed as a lecture to the computer science department at Stanford University. After the lecture, I had […]

creating life

I’m only a sixth or so of the way through The Process of Creating Life, but the ideas there are really getting my brain racing today for some reason. He gives these beautiful little examples of evolving living structures step by step: looking at those, you (or at least I) say: What a great paradigm […]