Eight lines of rhyming & executable sourcecode
Peter Knobloch, 7. Oct. 2003

(requires Flash 6)

The sourcecode below that controls the animation above ... can be read like this:
/* This is the story of Tom, Max and Sue
little */
Tom = 3; /* and */ Max = 2;
This is the story of Tom, Max and Sue,
Tom is three and Max equals two.
onEnterFrame = function() { _y = Max +_y
  _x += Tom /* soon he will be Pi */
On enterframe is function. Y's Max plus y
X plus is Tom (Soon he will be Pi).
  if ((_height > _y) || !(_y < Stage.height)) {
    /* then */ Max *= (7.0 - 8);
   If height greater y or not y less Stageheight
then Max times is seven point zero minus eight.
  Sue = !(_x < Stage.width) || (_width > _x);
  Tom *= 1 - Sue * Math.abs(Max);

Sue's not x less Stagewidth or width greater x
Tom times is one minus Sue Math-abs Max.
(Macromedia Flash Document, 37 kB)

Sourcecodepoetry resides at the potential intersection of the lines of sourcecode and poetry. Probably the similarity of both exceeds just having the written word in common: the history of using a programming language to write poetry dates back to the 1970s. Some of these poems consist of actually executable lines of code, some don't. I was tempted from the beginning by the idea to write executable code that rhymes and since I could not find any existing example this might be the first. Sourcecodepoetry shows a colored disc moving inside the boundaries of an invisible rectangle. The computer or a programmer reads that eight lines of code as instructions to animate the disc but anyone else might start to read a little story about Tom, Max and Sue.

Sourcecode can not only be functional but beautiful. Since the understanding of non-programmers rarely goes beyond the analogy that sourcecode relates to an application like a score relates to music, the audience for this kind of beauty is very small. Last October I was invited to speak about the way I work at the Innovation Circle's Jour Fixe. The opportunity for a sourcecode-reading in front of 150 guests at the monthly event of this consulting company was the final impetus to write my eight lines of code. Since I tried to put emphasis on rhythm as well, maybe sourcecode can also be musical.

Articles about Sourcecode and Poetry:
Cramer, Florian: Program Code Poetry
Heiss, Janice J.: The Poetry of Programming
Hopkins, Sharon: Camels and Needles: Computer Poetry Meets the Perl Programming Language