Curry On
July 18-19th, 2016

Notes on Post-Post-Modern-Modern Programming
James Noble
Victoria University of Wellington



The ultimate goal of all computer science is the program. In the beginning, so our myths and stories tell us, the programmer created the program from the eternal nothingness of the void. These notes have the status of letters written to ourselves: we wrote them down because, without doing so, we found ourselves making up new arguments over and over again. In 2002 at the first OOPSLA Onward track, James Noble and Robert Biddle presented a paper entitled “Notes on Postmodern Programming”. The paper was a both a paean, a homage to the love of programming and its lore, but also a mocking attack. One common question was whether the paper was serious or a joke? It was both, and that was the agenda. In following years, similar papers were presented, with diminishing impact: the shock of the new wears off. In this retrospective, we revisit some of the propositions made in the early papers, and attempt to re-experience the shock. Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot, but we’ll remember with advantages what feats we did that day.