Text files full of punctuation? There must be a better way to code.

Sat September 05, 11:35 AM–12:00 PM • Back to program
Start time 11:35
End time 12:00
Countdown link Open timer

As programmers we believe that the true nature of code exists in a text file. A good programmer can construct the magic sequence of characters in their head and their fingers blur as they stream line after line of code into the keyboard without error.

Is this reality? Not even close. There are many problems with representing and editing code in text and we're so used to them just we don't see it.

The vast majority of code is written through some kind of text editor, whether it's notepad, a sophisticated IDE, or a heavily customised Vim environment. These tools mitigate common text editing problems like unclosed brackets and syntax errors, but can't eliminate them completely.

In this talk we'll explore the underlying nature of code as a tree structure using Python's abstract syntax trees, and we'll compare real world examples of coding interfaces which represent these trees in different ways.

So much of our thinking and tooling revolves around code being represented as text files that to step outside of this world means re-imagining how version control works and what real programming even is.

Katie Bell She/her

Katie has been a professional developer for more than 10 years, jumping through ecosystems from a giant Java-writing company (Google) to a tiny Python-based company (Grok Learning) to a Microsoft and .NET company (Campaign Monitor). She's also worked and volunteered in education and helped a lot of rookie coders pull together their first hello world programs, websites and larger projects.