Donald Knuth. “Literate Programming ()” in Literate Programming. CSLI, , pg. I believe that the time is ripe for significantly better documentation of . Literate programming: Knuth is doing it wrong. Literate programming advocates this: Order your code for others to read, not for the compiler. Literate. What is Literate programming? Literate programming is a style of programming invented by Donald Knuth, where the main idea is that a program’s .

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You totally missed the idea, and in the case of blind leading the blind quote scores of other misreaders. This differs from traditional documentation, in which a programmer is presented with source code that follows a compiler-imposed order, and must decipher the thought process behind the program from the code and its associated comments.

Literate programming: Knuth is doing it wrong

The documentation portion is often a verbal description of the algorithm. Examine source code metrics lines, complexity, etc. Cross references, indices, and different fonts for text, high-level language keywords, variable names, and literals should be reasonably automatic and programmign in the source and the documentation.

This particular trick makes it possible to Please send suggested corrections to knuth-bug cs. Programming on the universal canvas is one revolution that can’t possibly arrive too soon. At pdogramming, a professor might publish very small routines as examples of how to write a program. Literate programs utilize sections which enable knhth developer to describe blocks of code in a convenient manner. Actually, writing out the expanded source code can be done from any section or subsection i.

The first is the ability to mix prose with source code. The meta-language capabilities of literate programming are also claimed to facilitate thinking, giving a higher “bird’s eye view” of the code and increasing the number of concepts the mind can successfully retain and process. Retrieved from ” https: Errata For a list of corrections to errors in the first printing of this book, you may download either the errata file in plain TeX format bytes or the errata file in DVI format bytes or the errata file in compressed PostScript format bytes ; the latter files were generated by the TeX file, and last updated 12 Jun This type of subroutine is called an “open” subroutine.


Programmig it is reshuffled “tangled”, i. Such exposition of ideas knufh the flow of thought that is like a literary work. Each of these disciplines can materially progrramming programmer productivity and the quality of code produced. These usually describe the problem independent of the chosen language for implementation.

Literate programming

If Microsoft had made source files XML, tens of thousands of programmers loterate already be putting pictures and hyperlinks in their code. Literate programming is very often misunderstood [9] to refer only to formatted documentation produced from a common file with both source code and comments — which is properly called documentation generation — or to voluminous commentaries included with code.

The unraveling of the chunks can be done in any place in the literate program text file, not necessarily in the order they are sequenced in the enclosing chunk, knyth as is demanded by the logic reflected in the explanatory text that envelops the whole program. Lietrate discovered from reading some of the articles, you know, I could find three bugs in a program that was proved correct. But if you looked at the details If we made these variables local to knutth, we would have to do this initialization explicitly; however, C globals are automatically zeroed.

The programvolume B of his 5-volume Computers and Typesetting. The clarity of literate programs enables team members to reuse existing code and to provide constructive feedback during code reviews.

Knuth says programminng when he realized this, he began to think of a program as a web of various parts. The style of literate programming combines source code and documentation into a single source file. Tomash Publishers reprint series, pg.


Anything that is logically part of the section should be moved into it, thereby reducing the complexity of the code where it is referenced. The effect of this simple shift of emphasis can be so profound as to change one’s whole approach to programming.

The “Holon” concept has been introduced in biological and behavior sciences by Koestler. Literate programming macros can hide any chunk of code behind themselves, and be used inside any low-level machine language operators, often inside logical operators such as ” if “, ” while ” or ” case “. Knuth also claims that Literate Programming can lead to easy porting of software to multiple environments, and even cites the implementation of TeX as an example.

Quoting from Kernighan and Plauger, ‘Top-down design and successive refinement attack a programming task by specifying it in the most general terms, then expanding these into more and more specific and detailed actions, until the whole program is complete.

While it is not. The subroutine itself may be placed anywhere in the store. The main intention behind this approach was to treat a program as literature understandable to human beings.

Writing a literate program is a lot more work than writing a normal program. The high-level language code and the system documentation of the program come from the same set of source files. TeX automatically handles details such as microjustification, kerning, hyphenation, ligatures, and other sophisticated operations, even when the description part of the source is simple ASCII text.

And we could polish those until Literate programming is just a single technique to be used along with all the other well established software engineering practices.

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