Apropos of our class discussion today about the poetics of code and different cultural perspectives on programming, here’s a description of a theoretical programming language called Haifu inspired by principles of Haiku poetry and Eastern philosophy. Interesting!

Design Principles:

  • A programming language should respect nature and be mindful of its beauty.
  • The language will be based on the five classical elements of Asian thought, rather than the limiting Western Aristotelian notion of four elements. The five elements are: Earth, Fire, Water, Wood, and Metal.
  • The language should have artistic merit. To this end, all valid code must be in the form of haiku.
  • Because I only speak English, code will take the form of English haiku, with the classic 5-7-5 syllable structure based on English words. I realise this is a fundamental limitation on the purity of the language, but any Chinese or Japanese speakers out there are welcome to port Haifu to versions in those languages.

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