A jumble of metal types showing letters.

We did not evolve to write software. In fact, we did not evolve to read and write at all.

Still research shows that the shapes constructing glyphs are similar over different alphabets. So is the frequency of those shapes. On top of that, the common shapes in our alphabets are also those common in nature. Patterns we did evolve to recognize.

Neurological research on cats shows how the matching of parts to a whole works when recognizing shapes. The process of matching a shape, in different fonts and sizes, to a specific letter, seems to be build into our brains. Or, more correctly, our letters have evolved to match how the brain decodes shapes.

An “x” is easy to recognize, but takes three movements to draw by hand. So the theory is that the cost of forming a letter is seen as less important, than the cost of recognizing it. When exploring shorthand and scribbles, other shapes are found, shapes optimized for our motor function.

Our current alphabets, not only the latin one, have evolved to be easily decoded. They have not evolved to be easy to shape.

We have not evolved to create software, but we should let software development evolve as our letters have.

Code should always be easier to read than it was to write!


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