Is Ruby more Country or Grunge?

by Dan Zambonini

I've re-worked the 'Is programming art?' question: If programming was music, which genre would represent each programming language? I'd like your suggestions below, but here's a couple to get you started:


Perl would undoubtedly be Jazz. Freeform Jazz, in fact. None of this easy listening, "I didn't think that I liked Jazz but it's not that bad" kind of Jazz. No siree -- it would be the crazy stuff that makes your want to throw your CD player into industrial acid. Take a look at this:

$h = 1 if (@Files <= 1 && !(($d && $Dirs_specified) || $r || $X));
$reset = 1 if (((@Files > 1) || $X) && $Perlexpr =~ /[\$\@\%][a-z]/ && !$x);
$h = 0 if $H;
if ($c || $l || $L || $O || $q || $Z) {
$a = 1;
$b = $N = $S = $T = 0;
$y = 1 if (($l || $L || $q) && !$No_slurp);
$N = 0 if $T;
$F = 0 if ($F && $Perlexpr !~ /\bF\b/);
$P = 0 if ($P && $Perlexpr !~ /\bP\b/);

Jazz musical score

I'm guessing you didn't even notice that I switched from a CPAN Perl extract into some Jazz musical score.

I might start using the term Perl Jazz more often to describe this kind of code (not to be confused with Perl Poetry), although it might already be the name of an unwholesome movie; I'll need to check (if you see me looking at strange websites, I'm researching this).

It can't be long until someone creates software that lets you write your Perl scripts in Musical Score notation. Or maybe even digitise the output of a saxophone into Perl. You heard it here first. (Horrible thought: Imagine working in an office where teams of programmers spent all day writing Perl applications through mass Jazz saxophone recitals. That should make you feel better about your current working environment.)

Assembly Language

Given the age of Assembly Language, it is perhaps suprising that its closest musical relative is quite recent – Dance music. You could be forgiven if you thought that some Dance tracks had been inspired by code extracts from an assembler book:

mov, mov, jump, jump, mov, push, push

By the way, I'm trying to establish a new dance sub-genre. Given the success of House and Garage, I'm hoping to continue the DIY theme and be the first successful artist in the Tongue and Groove category. I think it could be big, although yet again, I'm going to need to check if the name has been taken by an unsavory movie.

Any Others?

Let me know if you can think of any others. They have to be music genres though, not performing artists. As much as I'd like to compare ASP.NET to Celine Dion and Java to Meatloaf, it's outside the rules of this challenge.


2005-08-30 05:50:58
Classical Music
My first thought was that Pascal code is the Classical Music of software development, with it's formal if slightly verbose elegance.

But then I'm not so sure. one characteristic of classical music is he harmonious way that numerous different instruments seem so effortlessly combined into a seamless whole. Perhaps the .NET runtime might steal this spot. Developers can choose a variety of different languages, yet they all integrate into a single continuous framework of code.

Perhaps Pascal is Chamber Music as it's certainly elegant but (in it's orriginal procedural form) doesn't scale well?

Simon Hibbs

2005-08-30 06:31:43
Python is 20th Century Orchestral
(or modern classical if you like contradictions). Clean with well defined structure, but flexible enough to encompass everything from Stockhausen to Zappa.
2005-08-30 07:11:05
If Perl is Jazz then Ruby is most certainly Post-Rock. Instrumental almost-jazz noodling with a psychedelic overtones and grand-sweeping scapes. Think Tortoise ( or Godspeed You Black Emperor! -- music with structures that hark into the collective unconscious effortlessly. That's Ruby. It's like the best friend you never had.
2005-08-30 07:49:56
Ruby is classical. Ruby on Rails is a fugue.
2005-08-30 13:19:53
I guess VB would be those homeless people singing in the subway for change.

Yes, technically it is music - but only for poor amateurs who have no where else to go. Also, "knowing how to read sheet music" is optional.

2005-08-31 05:13:08
I would think Punk
Simple, three chord energy based on discontent with the status quo. Then again, that's all I listen to when coding so I have a different take on things.
2005-08-31 17:35:27
Larry answered this one a long time ago
...for Perl, anyway:

2005-09-01 01:11:34
Larry answered this one a long time ago
Wow, I feel so old-hat now...
2005-09-01 06:18:32
And Java is...
Reggae of course:
"Legalize it, don't criticize it!"
2005-09-02 00:20:27
What I know for sure is that COBOL is like military marches.