Poetry in Execution

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Poetry is almost as old as language itself. It allows the poet that creates it to be creative, and express their thoughts and feelings in ways that are profound and thought-provoking. Poetry can be seen as a form of artistic expression, and it allows its creator to be flexible in its construction.

Computer programs allow the programmer that creates them to control the operations of a machine. Machines read programs just as humans read poems; however, machines often have their own (usually more restrictive) languages that programmers must understand in order to create programs for them. There is a sense, however, in which well-written computer programs can be seen as an art form - one that machines may appreciate.

Imagine if these two art forms could be combined - the possibilities would be endless. One could combine the usefulness of a computer program with the expressiveness of a poem, and create a work of art that could be appreciated and interpreted by humans and machines (each in their own way). I have tried to create the perfect combination of these two ideas, and the result of this endeavor is Poetic.

What do Poetic programs look like?

This is an example of a program that copies input directly to output.

stranger, i confess
i have longstanding problems
i'm unprepared for

How do I write and run these poems/programs?

I have created a Python interpreter for Poetic. You can download it on the Download page, and you can run it on your favorite terminal using something similar to this:

poetic.py [ -i input-file ] [ -w ] poetic-program

poetic-program is the program file which you want to run as Poetic code. (It can have any extension, though .ptc is recommended.)

The options are optional, but if included, they do the following:

-i / --input
Take input from a specified file, instead of STDIN.
-w / --wimpmode
Interpret program in wimpmode (programs are a series of numbers, instead of words).

As for writing them, consult the tutorial for guidance on how to intentionally write working programs. (Or, perhaps you can try "running" a piece of regular poetry, and seeing what happens!)

Who's the weirdo that made this?

Okay, first off: that's rude.

This was made by Josiah Winslow, who, for the second time, decided that the easiest way to create website content for a web development class assignment would be to make a complete programming language. The professor who assigned this project was Jonathan Meersman, so he is partly to blame here as well.