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Literate Programming ala Knuth

Here we will briefly describe an important background and inspiration, namely Knuth's ideas of literate programming.

Knuth invented literate programming in order to explain and publish his programs in articles and books

  • Characteristics of literate programming:

    • A program is structured according to its explanation

    • The distance between the documentation and the program is small

      • Physical proximity

      • The pieces of program 'live in' the documentation

      • It becomes 'necessary' to explain everything

That it becomes 'necessary' to explain everything has to do with the observation that we need to create an explanational context in which to place a piece of program. Now it is there, it is natural to write something that makes sense - something useful.

Literate programming is typically supported by tools in the WEB-family