Basti's Scratchpad on the Internet
28 Oct 2012


Names are everywhere in software. We name our variables, our functions, our arguments, classes, and packages. We name our source files and the directories that contain them. We name our jar files and war files and ear files. We name and name and name. Because we do so much of it, we'd better do it well.

– from the Introduction to chapter 2 "Meaningful Names" of "Clean Code" by Robert C. Martin.

Indeed we name a lot of things in software. As The Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs points out, the primary purpose of a function (lambda) is to provide names for its arguments that are independent of names elsewhere. A function provides a closure in which stuff has defined names. The closure itself can then be embedded into other closures to form composite structures. Take any complex program structure and decompose its names through all its lambdas and you will only find more names right until you reach turtles.

At its heart, programming is about naming things. If I squint my eyes a little, I can nearly convince myself that naming is really all there is. All the rest is just playing games with syntax.

It's situations like this that I realize that The Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs really changed how I view programming.

If you like programming at all, I implore you to read it, or watch it, or buy it. It really blew my mind.

Tags: programming
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