The Role of Aesthetics in Code: a Qualitative Interview Study with Professionals
A lack of relevant research exists on the topic of aesthetics in programming. This study aims to lay a foundation for future research on the topic by qualitatively researching the relation between functionality and aesthetics in code. Eight programmers from the Netherlands were interviewed for their opinion on the beauty in the code they come across in their day to day life. The answers given by the interviewees were generally convergent. The definition of beauty seemed to change based on the time the code was written and the nature of the problem that was being solved. Visual properties mainly focused around readability and modifiability like cleanness, compactness, structure, and modularity were seen as important tough often not seen as the true definition of beauty. Beauty in code was mostly influenced by the expertise a programmer had in a language and the level of understanding of the problem that is solved. Information gathered in this study suggests a strong link between aesthetics and functionality when reading and writing code. Judging from the interviews the topic of aesthetics in code seems to be alive and relevant in the programming community and can thus be seen as a promising direction for future research.