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EECS Publication

Aesthetics in Software Engineering

Bruce MacLennan

This report discusses the important role that aesthetics may play in software engineering. We begin with an exploration of the practical importance of elegance for both the designers and users of software systems, and argue that it promotes software that is technically superior and a pleasure to use. Second, because of the abstract and formal character of software we draw analogies with aesthetics in the exact sciences, including mathematics, in which intelligibility coincides with beauty, and consider how this aesthetics may be applied to software. Third, we discuss means for making abstract aesthetic qualities perceptible, including visual programming languages and models grounded in human embodiment. Finally, we advocate ways to advance and teach the aesthetic dimension of software engineering.

Published  2006-08-01 04:00:00  as  ut-cs-06-579 (ID:137)


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