Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Literate Programming

Author:Erik Neu
Posted:10/21/1999; 5:03:19 AM
Topic:Literate Programming
Msg #:12217
Prev/Next:12216 / 12218

Below is an excerpt from Peter Housel on the Literage Programming mailing list. This sounds somewhat reminiscent of things I have heard discussed here, such as outlining integrated with code editing. Any thoughts?

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>>From the docs/howto.xml file in my literate programming package:

Literate programming is a technique for combining computer program source code with commentary about how the program works, in such a way that both compilable program source and a easily understood human-readable version of the program can both be generated. Literate programming systems allow the flexibility to structure the program text in an order that makes sense for explaining the program, rather than paying attention only to the needs of the compiler. They also provide the facilities to make the human-readable output more visually attractive than a simple program listing, often including things such as diagrams, mathematical equations, a detailed index, and (in some systems) pretty-printed program listings.

Donald Knuth invented literate programming while designing his TeX typesetting system. The TeX and METAFONT programs are written using the WEB system, which combines Pascal program text with commentary written using the TeX typesetting language. Since then many other systems have been built, supporting programming languages other than Pascal, and publishing systems other than TeX. The most popular of these are CWEB, noweb, and nuweb.


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