Octopress and the Hacker Aesthetic

I’ve migrated my website from Wordpress to Octopress. Octopress has a much cleaner underlying code structure, which makes it easy for me to customize how I want my website to look and function. The only catch is that implementing these customizations is much more technical than in Wordpress; everything is done throug the command line, and there is no user-friendly GUI to help you out.

But this difficulty is less a hassle for me than it is a fun challenge. My interest in programming and web development/design has really taken over my semester. I’m currently learning Ruby on Rails, which also entails that I improve my facility with HTML and CSS. I plan on getting started learning Javascript (and jQuery and Coffeescript) as soon as I can.

Wikipedia defines Hacker as such; “In home and hobby circles, a hacker is a person who enjoys exploring the limits of what is possible, in a spirit of playful cleverness. They may also heavily modify software or hardware of their own computer system.”

I certainly love breaking things and customizing them to make them my own, but something about what I call the Hacker Aesthetic also appeals to me. Computer programmers have this principle DRY: Don’t Repeat Yourself. Every effort is made to streamline code by eliminating redundancy and achieving the desired outcome in the most efficient way possible. In a sense, it’s the technical manifestation of the artistic concept of minimalism, something that I value in music. All of my favorite musicians/composers have minimalist tendencies: Miles Davis, Brad Mehldau, Robert Glasper, just to name a few epitomical examples.

Perhaps the most tangible examples of the Hacker Aesthetic are modern websites. These sites use modern coding techniques to create fast, clean, and elegant websites both in appearance and function. Check out artsy, tumblr, and origami.

Less obvious to people who haven’t had experience with programming is the simple fact that well written code just looks good. This is what my text editor looks like with code.

So for now, the plan is to keep exploring computer programming and, along the way, enjoy the beauty of the Hacker’s Aesthetic.

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